The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away… and sometimes He gives back again. You may remember my mention of our friends, Gene and Nancy, who lost their home in the Black Forest fire. They lived on the same block where the fire started, and had literally minutes to wake their daughter-in-law, grab the dog, the computer hard drive, and a box of photos (stored by the front door!) before jumping in their cars and fleeing for their lives.
Their house burned down, along with the accumulated treasures of fifty years of marriage. They are mourning their loss, and it is substantial. Yet, they have no doubt that God is good and that He is watching over them. For example…
What are you thankful for? We usually ask that question in November, and here it is June. More often than the answer includes our family, our friends, our good (if it is good) health, perhaps a special possession or two.
After a week or more of evacuations, fire, and loss, many here are incredibly grateful to God, and to the firefighters and other first responders who risked their lives on our behalf. Everywhere you look, there are signs of thanksgiving. I mean that literally.
Little by little the Black Forest fire is being put out. Hot spots continue to smolder under the pine needles carpeting the forest floor, and teams have to check every square foot of ground before residents are allowed back into an area, so it’s a slow process.
Our little neighborhood remained upwind of the flames and never burned, although there are blackened trees only a few blocks away. Yesterday the mandatory evacuation for our address was lifted. Even though we were warned that both natural gas and electricity (which also powers the pump in our well) were turned off, Pete and I couldn’t wait to get back into our house. We just wanted to be home!
We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog for another special announcement….
Here we are nearing the end of day four of our mandatory evacuation, with no end in sight. I’ve finally gotten past the “shouldas”—shoulda grabbed this and shoulda done that. Of course it’s totally useless to ponder such things; there’s absolutely nothing I can do about any of it now. But the thoughts had continued to circle, wearing a rut in my gray matter no matter how illogical. Finally, it seems I’m moving on to the next stage: boredom.
The forest is burning. If you’ve watched the news at all, you know that Black Forest, just north of Colorado Springs, is on fire. Thousands have been evacuated, and estimates of 100 or more homes have been destroyed.
We live in Black Forest. While our home is on the western edge of the evacuation zone and the winds were blowing the flames eastward, we too were told to leave. We’re lucky that our house is currently still standing, and I had time to gather a few important items before driving away.
I’ve been through two deadly earthquakes, billiard ball-sized hail, and a hurricane, but none of these prepared me for an out-of-control wildfire. We feel blessed that our home is out of danger, at least at this time, but we live in a forest, with trees surrounding (at the requisite 30 foot distance) three sides of our house. The neighborhood of several hundred homes that went up in flames Tuesday night is only twelve miles away—less if you’re a wind-borne ember.
I’ve been on Facebook a lot the last few days, trying to see how friends are doing, letting people know we’re okay, and posting photos of the fire as seen from our driveway.
For over a week we have been aware of a huge fire burning west of Ft. Collins, about two hours north of us. Fourteen square miles and almost 200 homes have been destroyed. Anyone living in the area has been evacuated, unable to check on their property or retrieve belongings. I’ve tossed up a few prayers, especially when I read news updates, but it hasn’t exactly dominated my thoughts.
Saturday afternoon I happened to glance out the window and saw a huge plume of smoke rising from behind a ridge here in Colorado Springs. We were witnessing the first few hours of the Waldo Canyon fire. As I write this, thousands of people have been displaced although thankfully no one has been hurt and no structures have burned. Still, the fire has consumed 2,000 acres and is totally out of control. I can think of nothing else.