June 26, 2012 by vlittle528
It is easy to not understand when you are so far away. You may feel empathy and sorrow, you may pray and help in any way that you can, but it is really hard to actually understand what others in life-changing situations are going through. While you are thinking about the drama when you see the news or in between your daily activities, your heart isn’t being broken while your life is being torn apart every second of the day.
I felt safe. I felt safe while I watched the stories of the ten active fires on the news. I offered my home and my help to my friends who may need it, and then I went back to my day and felt safe. I felt safe even when I heard there was one in Boulder. And then I let my dog outside and stepped onto the back porch. My eyes quickly started to burn as the smell overwhelmed my senses. I looked up to see the cloudy haze, so many miles away from the fires. My children came out on the porch and I suddenly felt fear. I looked at their innocence, heard them ask what the smell was and why it “looked so funny” outside. I wanted them inside away from the smoke, away from the possibilities, away from the something bigger than me. Something I can’t control.
Colorado is burning. That is what people are saying. The days are record-breaking at over 100 degrees for five days in a row, today reaching 105. The wind is sudden and vicious, the rain fleeting and sporadic at best. Memories are quickly being burned as what makes Colorado beautiful and special is being ravaged by fires that seem angry and intent in their cause. The Flying W Ranch, where thousands of families enjoyed western style dinners together announced that they had burned down. My husband told me that co-workers of his that work at the store in the Springs are being evacuated. People he knows may lose their homes. My cousin’s wife told me that he is ready to go help (he is a firefighter). Homes that people lived in, cherished, and built memories in are being turned into nothing more than ashes on the ground. Colorado is burning, and quickly. With each acre burned, the degrees of separation are getting smaller, and more and more people are being affected in some way.
A friend of mine had recently mentioned that she started thinking about emergency preparation. When she first said it all I thought of was a show I had seen where a family was living like the world had already ended. But the more things happen, the more I wonder. How quickly life changes. An instant. A second. That is all it takes. A tornado can come through your home and crumble your life to bits, a flood can wash away everything you own forever, a fire can burn your life in a hot flash. Thanks to my friend, today will be the last day I don’t take the first step in emergency preparation.
That same friend of mine is an inspiration in my eyes simply because of who she is and how she lives her life and the strength that she teaches others to have (though don’t bother telling her because she is one of those true angels on earth that can’t even see how special they are). She is also a part of a group of friends of mine that share our trials and tribulations, our work and our lives. Our husbands all think we talk about them, but in reality days like today we spend our time talking about the fires. About the children of the group that are having surgeries, illnesses, problems. Amidst the fear and pain you will find sprinkled jokes so that we can get through without going too crazy. Each one of us knows that in the group we will find someone that will get us through (most likely the group as a whole will be our lifeline when we need it). We offer our homes and help though we each know in our hearts that we all know these offers are a given, but we want to assure each other. But sometimes I read through our Facebook posts to one another and I wonder…..how much of what we say is an attempt to have some control in our lives? Behind the jokes, what are the fears? If you were to follow the fingers typing the message, what would you see on the faces behind the screen? Fear? Anxiety? Tears? Pure helplessness?
Lack of control is terrifying. There are some things we can do…..there are steps we can take. But moments like now, as I can smell the smoke from outside and am sitting here watching the news and reading the posts in Facebook, sometimes I wonder if someone is trying to tell us something. What are we not listening to, what are we ignoring? Why is all of this happening? What can we do to stop it? And what is it going to take for us to listen?