Today, the noise returns.
Traffic. We live on a state highway, the existence of which carries hundreds of vehicles a day. Delivery trucks, recreationalists. Locals, workers. Commuters of all kinds, from gravel trucks delivering endless loads to rebuild Left Hand Canyon, a repair effort begun this year, just three years after the last natural disaster in this area.
There are other sounds, unusual ones, to remind of recent events: Helicopters overhead, the chop-chop-chopping of rotating blades. The engine soar high above, the recognizance plane, sweeping the landscape from high above.
An Aero Commander Shrike, my husband informs. He has not left the sanctuary our front porch, for days.
It is almost a welcome sound after days of silence. Up here, silence means something has gone drastically wrong. Someone was stopped in the middle of their time up here, escaping from the stress of the chaos below. Or worse, a natural disaster has erupted, all normal activities, come to a screeching halt.
The only constant I hear is the trill of the hummingbirds. The ones that my husband loves, the ones he stayed through evacuations to feed.
We all need Nature.
And, there is another side of it all, one on which I try hard not to dwell. My mind can so easily turn overwhelm into fear.
The effects of life on people today are causing them to act just a little bit crazy. There is much wilderness, vast open spaces, for people to unleash. Some people breathe easy, moving body and flowing breath, on these lands in the mountains.
Yet others are lost, searching for something deeper, within. The westerly direction, in the Native American tradition, is a place for darkness and grieving.
It is not the lost, per se, I know how that feels.
It is the darkness they bring, the confusion and pain. It is the danger of carelessness, the inherent threat to the land carried on the tendrils of ignorance, deep into these forests within. Two men brought it into our forests this past week.
These lands were aflame this week past, close to some 600 acres charred, or so I am told. Eight homes were lost, others, almost so.
This mosaic experience, of light and of dark, has peppered this landscape for a while, once again.
As with the floods from three years now a distant memory gone, the threats to life deliver the gifts to remain. More friends and strangers poured forth from the spaces between the burning trees, to reach out their hands to all in danger and say,
How can I help?
(a little practice we had at Naropa)
for Ron Mitchell, who crawled in through the window our mountain home as we raced our way back, to save our five cats and three dogs,
for Victor Grimm, whose wise counsel and level head, kept us all informed,
for Chuck Chadakoff, whose firefighting and communication talents are genuinely welcomed back from the dry dry Mojave Desert,
for Jennifer Hill, my voice of emotional and psychological sanity, in the trauma of gathering all we needed to live,
for Melissa Williams and Kathy, for their immediate and genuine presence, to bring our cats back from the home we felt safe to return and yet, not so, to their own home until it was safe for them to be,
for Chuck and Michelle Hughes, strangers now friends, having lived through a tornado themselves, came to our driveway in the midst of it all,
for Leslie Oldham, whose offer of refuge in a moment of danger and words, I made up the guest bed, come down here!, will never be forgotten,
for Renee Maine, my old neighbor and firefighting femme, whose air recognizance kept us informed and at peace,
for Rose Steele and her friends newly arrived, whose brilliant and loving care, brought our things out in the five minutes we might have had,
for Larry Johns, whose information and protection, kept us safe and informed,
for Eric Johnson, whose quick thinking to call Animal Control for backup, kept the calm in my exploding mind, as we drove out of Denver back to the mountains,
for Haley Mullin and Travis Bergesgaard, our beloved neighbors, whose soft voices and generous hearts kept us informed and supplied with sugar for the hummingbirds,
for David and Elizabeth Pickner, whose valiant efforts to replenish that sugar can only be regarded as brilliantly resourceful,
for Jim & Christy Egan, whose loving voices from the flames not so far away, let us know they were out there in their own dark now, too,
for Annie Zaccaroli and Sean O’Dell, whose efforts to bring us that raspberry lemonade and berries were not stopped in our hearts, if only by the National Guard, standing watch over the Canyon,
to Barb Hardt, I wish I could have come get that 25 bag of Costco sugar,
for our dogs — Sheba, Linus and Rainier — who wondered what they did wrong, to sleep consecutive nights in our car, on the wing on flight,
for our cats — Uncle Irving & Pavie, the Blues Brothers and Chelona, for not clawing the existence out of each other in the confines of a single cage,
for all our fish, especially Twitchy, of whom we might have had to take leave, it was nothing personal…
and finally, for the firefighters, the rescue workers, the law enforcement, the volunteers, the Wyoming and other Hotshots we could not see as we were too far away, the pilots and all the crew, and all the people in between, who have helped extinguish not only the flames threatening birds and mammals and the lands for us all, but helped restore the hope in our hearts for humanity, today and for always,
to the countless others in this community, who have reached out their voices and their hearts, to let us know we are not all alone, we share this human community in these wild landscapes, one and all.