I went to bed last night with visions of the Flatirons in Boulder on fire, some of my favorite hiking spots charred and left as ash. My thoughts drifted to the 32,000 people evacuated from Colorado Springs and the cadets asked to leave the Air Force Academy, wondering if the firestorm nightmare would stop before it reached their home. And, I was thinking about the folks in Fort Collins who are approaching their third week with a fire that has burned over 87,000 acres and is still only 65% contained. As a consequence of the barrage of images of homes consumed by fires and landmarks reduced to nothing, I walked around this morning in a smoky haze of sadness. My beautiful home state is burning.
I’m sure my fondness for “home” is the same as everyone else’s. I’ve been fortunate enough to live most of my life in this gorgeous state. During the years that I lived away, I would drive back home and upon passing the Welcome to Colorful Colorado sign I would instantly feel more at peace. As much as I love travel, I love Colorado more. I am the person I am because of my life experiences here. The mountains are in my blood. When I die, I want my ashes scattered here. This is where I belong. Plain and simple.
But, in all my sadness today, feeling this incredible sense of loss for places I’ve known and loved that are either burning or in danger of it, I had a revelation. All is not lost. At least, not yet. I started thinking about next week, our national holiday. There will be no fireworks this year; fire bans statewide have ensured that. But, there’s still so much of Colorado that can be celebrated even without fireworks. So, next Wednesday morning, fires be damned, we’re hooking the pop-up to the FJ Cruiser and we’re heading to the White River National Forest near Marble, Colorado. For three days and nights, the wind in the aspens will be our patriotic tune and the shooting stars will be our fireworks. The more I think about it, the more perfect our holiday becomes. We will celebrate our nation’s independence by enjoying our own. What could be better than that?
(Post script…written at 8 p.m.)
Yawn and ick. I just reread what I wrote earlier today and didn’t have a chance to getting around to publishing. Sometimes my writing even bores me. Holy saccharin schlock. I realize that I am writing this blog to learn about the writing process, to get into the practice of writing, and to understand more about how writing “works” (or doesn’t work) for me. What I discovered today is that there are days when you will write and feel like a total hack. You’ll wonder why you even wasted your time. Still, that’s part of the experience of writing. So, I’m publishing this as is, and later I can remember that some days it just doesn’t work, and that’s okay. Like life, with writing there will be good days and bad days. Chalking today up to a bad day and moving on. Hopefully tomorrow finds me less melancholy and more inspired.