Fire cyclone explodes across me: I am harshly bruised. Scorched life fills my senses. Shock blankets me.
Does part of me still live?
I wake for moments and sleep again.
I dream of leaves rustling.
I dream of sun’s caress.
I remember snows’ shield and spring’s awakening, the bloom within me lying ready for rain’s gift for abundance, ever changing.
I remember preparing for the long cold, the sweet sleep of dormancy different from this death coma choking me.
I feel the weight of heavy hooves searching for buds and bark, of paws scratching for insects. Providing sustenance was my life’s purpose. Tortured soil fills me with sorrow.
Fire unforgiving taking beauty taking joy taking solace and comfort in seconds leaving nothing but the faint glimmer of birdsong and the broken remnants of peace.
In the early evening of October 21, the East Troublesome fire roared through our remote and wild forest in the mountains west of Granby, Colorado. In a few hours, the fire’s size increased from ~12,000 acres to 170,000. Intense heat and ferocious winds fueled the spread into Rocky Mountain National Park and over the continental divide up to the town of Estes Park, CO.
Our 80 acres of remote and wild beauty was incinerated in moments. Painful to visit and challenging to comprehend. This was not a particularly dry season. The winter brought ample snow, spring was moist and lush, and rain came almost every day in summer. Until late July. In prior years, August would bring a change of season – more moisture and cooler temperatures. By then, one could heave a sigh of hopeful relief that the risk of fire had diminished significantly. Not this year.
These pictures show late-September’s beauty, aspen in full splendor. A week later, leaves were falling. The beauty was softer, less spectacular, as the land prepared for winter. And a few photos show the land in its present state. The smell of fire lingers; the soil’s power to generate growth at 9,000’ elevation depends upon the length of time fire burned hot on the land. We will not know the answer for some period.