I came home this weekend from our QA TV taping with every intention of
blogging right away, but then Mother Nature struck...
On Labor Day, John and I decided to take a long morning hike. It was a beautiful late-summer day: cool, blue, crisp. When we got back, I decided to spend about an hour in my studio, which faces the mountain. When I entered the room, the lighting looked odd to me and I noticed
a sickly yellow glow on my studio wall. I ran outside and pointed out the sky to John.
Indeed, a fire had erupted over the mountain ridge, but we had no idea
how far or close it was to our home. I kept Googling for any insight and found
the most reliant and up-to-date sources of information were Twitter
feeds on Google.
I ‘d learned the fire had hit Four Mile canyon and police personnel were
beginning to close roads and evacuate neighborhoods. Things hadn't improved much Monday night...
We noticed more fire and police personnel descending upon our neigborhood, heard they'd evacuated another neigborhood behind ours, and decided it would be a good idea to pack up some of our things in case we needed to evacuate. (I thought it ironic as I had jokingly written about this very situation in an editor letter a couple of years ago.) We packed up our clothes, pictures, important paperwork, some studio supplies (including my Bernina!), and equipment for our animals.
We slept with the window open in our bedroom in case we smelled the smoke getting worse. Fortunately, there was no need to evacuate, but the sight of the sunrise the following morning felt apocalyptic.
The smoke was so bad, Boulder officials told everyone to stay inside.
The slurry planes began their relay race between heading to the mountains to drop thousands of pounds of fire retardant materials on the fires, then scurry back to pick up more. They flew so close to our roof top, it sounded like a war zone above our home. They were accompanied by helicopters that would scoop up water from a local lake and carry the water over the ridge.
Even the prairie dogs didn't know what to make of this!
The police then blocked off the road leading to the canyon near our home, and those displaced who had just minutes to evacuate, began to line our neighborhood streets to watch what was transpiring in the distance. It was heart breaking...
Everybody gasped when black plumes of smoke would erupt because that meant it most likely was a home going up in flames.
The news crews came too...
I noticed more smoke behind the ridge of our home Tuesday afternoon, but the slurry planes were quick to take it out. I no longer cared how loud they were overhead, they were doing a fantastic job!
Tuesday night things calmed some for everyone in our neighborhood but we felt terrible for all of those displaced. We learned today that more than 50 homes have burned to the ground, and this is probably a low estimate.
John and I aren't in any danger, and since we are within the city limits and have a number of fire hydrants on our street, we're safe. (I repeat to worried family members: we're safe!) No matter what, we would have gotten out of here just fine.
I'd been sharing what's been transpiring in Boulder on my Facebook wall (including that I had packed my Bernina) and Katy Korkos had responded with something that was spot on. She wrote, "When we evacuated for the Cerro Grande, I took the Bernina not because it was irreplaceable (it is not) but because I knew it would give me comfort to be sewing, and help me to keep my mind off of the intense worry about my friends who lost their homes."
This is exactly right. And as quilters we seek to not just comfort ourselves but hope that by somehow fashioning something from our hands for someone else it's our small way of saying we're sorry. I think about all of the quilt drives over the the years for 9/11 victims, the Katrina donations, quilts for Haiti...the list goes on and on. These people who've lost their homes need shelter and comfort right now (not quilts!), but eventually a small token down the line wouldn't be out of order.
As I write this two blessed things have occurred: a moderate amount of rain is falling and there is more humidity in the air. I am hoping that soon we see an end to this fire and the Boulder community can begin to heal. I hope you'll join me in doing a rain dance...