Every day, live a grateful life, appreciate the now

Sometimes we don't recognize what we should be grateful for until it's gone.

There is a certain skill to seeing the good things in our lives while we still have them.

That skill is strengthened by practice, by regularly taking the time to recognize and express gratitude for the good things in life.

Air quality

Most of the time our air quality is quite breathable. This week has made us grateful for the days when you can't look directly at the sun because it's too bright, not obscured by smoke and haze.

We're also grateful for the Benton Clean Air Agency, which is part of the state's Department of Ecology network that monitors our air quality.

The culprits this week are wildfires, but the agency also helps keep our air clean from windblown dust and smoke from controlled burns.

For asthma sufferers and others in the Mid-Columbia who struggle for each breath, this is an especially important service.

Aside from our air quality, the wildfires are taking a toll on our larger community.

When the state is not on fire, we don't spend a lot of time appreciating our natural resources ... or our firefighters.

Today we are grateful for both of them.

It's both horrifying and mesmerizing to watch nature's destructive forces.

Fixing fractures

Anyone who has suffered a broken bone understands the benefit of having access to modern medicine. For most of us, a fracture is inconvenient, not life-threatening.

In many countries around the world, it can be fatal.

We respect Dr. Lewis Zirkle, a Richland orthopedic surgeon, for his global outreach to provide life-saving training and supplies to doctors around the world.

His nonprofit SIGN -- Surgical Implant Generation Networks -- has provided nails to set broken bones for 103,000 patients in more than 200 hospitals.

Who knows how many lives have been saved as a result?

Chiawana grad dies

Today we mourn a young life cut short.

Victor Aguilar graduated from Chiawana High in June. He was set to start at Big Bend Community College this week. Instead, his friends and family will be attending a funeral service for him and his father.

Victor had plans for his future. He wanted to be a missionary. He was interested in aviation. These plans will be left unfinished.

One can look through the obituaries any day and see other lives that have ended and plans that will not be finished.

It makes you stop and think.

We don't know what tomorrow will bring, so if you're reading this today, be grateful.