...to the Waldo Canyon Fire. I am safe, my family is safe, no material possessions or homes have been lost, for me and mine. We are so, so blessed.
You may have heard about it on the news. Last Tuesday, June 26, 2012, the wildfire that had been burning outside of Colorado Springs decided to jump right outta Queen's Canyon, and into a neighborhood called Mountain Shadows.
I remember sometime in the middle '80's, when Mountain Shadows was the location of the annual Parade of Homes. We went, my family and I, and ooo-ed and ahh-ed at the posh living quarters that were being shown off. It was considered a far outskirt of Colorado Springs, unincorporated at that point, I imagine. I remember begging my mom, please, puh-leeeeze, let us live here, in one of these beautiful, perfect homes. I didn't understand then that we couldn't afford it - all I knew is that I had walked into a real-life Barbie dream home (well, mountain chalet, at least). My, how I and my little town have grown.
But that subdivision has been decimated. Destroyed. Devastated. There aren't enough of, or the right kind of, words, to describe the level of destruction there. 354 homes, gone. Burned down to the ground. It's just, well, honestly, when I see the pictures of it and the flyovers, I'm speechless. I know it's cliche, but it's true - it's like a horrific war movie, only no, this is real, this really happened. It's overwhelming.
And 2 people are gone. No one knows right now why, why they were in their home when the evacuations went out, why they didn't leave, why they didn't or couldn't get out. I don't know who they are - I'm sure that information won't be released for weeks - but the family knows. And my heart is floating somewhere out there, seeking them out, wishing I could say or do anything that would lighten the burden for them, the pain they feel.
It's seeking out the policeman or policewoman that had to track that family down, in all the chaos of the evacuations, to tell them the news. It's seeking out the firefighters, who faced an unconquerable monster, who stood as David against 1000 Goliaths, hoping that everyone had gotten out alright, only to find out that no, for 2 people, they didn't. It continues to seek out those same firefighters, and Army men, and Guardsmen, and Air Force personnel, and everyone who has come to help, who refuse to succumb to grief, for now, just for now, so that they can continue to protect us.
And it's seeking out the people that are still under mandatory evacuation, who are tired, frustrated, and lost right now, because the future of their home, their rock, is still uncertain. They are drifters at the moment, and completely at the mercy of the fire. That's a horrible place to be.
My heart is flying all over this city of mine, with love, with grief, with tears, with complete and utter gratitude.
I did an art journal page about this. It's not good art, but somehow, painting homes, painting trees, painting fire, painting smoke, it helped a little. Next, I will paint rain, and pray that it will wash over us all.