The smell of smoke is overwhelming and my heart is heavy today. I thought about writing this while enjoying my morning coffee out on the deck but the smoke kept me inside. Often I raise my nose to the sky to smell the sweet aroma of Juniper trees, wildflowers, and sandbar willows. Colorado smells so good. Fresh. Sweet. Like a favorite perfume. Today that delightful scent has been extinguished.
The fire in Waldo Canyon near Colorado Springs started on Saturday. It is now the top priority in the nation. It has been so sad to watch the forest burn from my back deck. Last night we ate dinner on the deck and watched flames come over the ridge and start down the mountain and saw the glow of a fire that started in a new area. Later, as we crawled into our nice comfortable beds my thoughts were with the thousands of people that have been evacuated from their homes. Thankfully, as of this writing, only one small structure had been lost. (Unlike the fires near Fort Collins and Estes Park which have consumed hundreds of homes.) I found a report that a shed at a nearby summer camp had been lost. This so happens to be the camp where my nephew is supposed to spend the first week in July.
Our nephew and his family arrived for a hockey tournament the day the fire started. The plan was to stay for the tournament, play in Colorado Springs and the surrounding area, then drop him off at camp. Many of the tourist areas that we would love to show off to our visitors have been closed. So, we sit. And watch. And pray.
I had a dream last night that my husband, Mike, and I looked out our bedroom window to see a house on fire one street over and a mountain on fire in another direction. I was a mess. Thankfully it was just a dream. We are a safe distance from the fire. Not threatened by the flames. Our hearts go out to those who cannot return home. With just 5% containment, there is no saying when they will be able to return. And when they are able to return, will they have lost everything?
Over the last few days talk of arson has sprung up. Officials are asking residents if they were in the canyon and noticed anything suspicious on Saturday. It is hard to imagine someone starting a fire on purpose, though I know it is reality.
Pikes Peak is on the far left. The smoke you see on the left is the south side of the fire. It has burned all the way up that ridge and started on the next.