A City On Fire

DAY 64

Sometimes no matter how simple you would like your life to be, you are overcome by events out of your control.   Colorado Springs is literally burning as I write this. We have family friends who had to evacuate their home staying with us. My spouse is half a world away. The campfire smell that has been in the air this week is starting to creep indoors.  I cancelled a short business trip scheduled for today because I was afraid to leave my kids. Yet sadly, I would say our family is one of the less affected here locally by this exigency.

Old Lady Leary’s Cow

Complacent–Our offices face Westward with a typically beautiful view of Pikes Peak. Yesterday, we spent the day watching the smoke ebb and flow behind the mountains.    The fire had been burning since Saturday.  At that point the smoke was a nuisance and I knew the fire would ruin some prime hiking, but still, it seemed so far removed even as we watched planes drop slurry and the helicopters drop water.

For most of the day, this was the view at our office.

Sometime shortly after 4:00, I packed up to go home and when I stepped outside the scene had changed.

I stood there with a group of coworkers mesmerized as we watched the fire crest the ridge and in less than 30 minutes  descend on the homes, the city below.

And then the fires came, photo taken by Andy Kay my coworker who was standing next to me on the porch. If you look carefully you can see the line of houses.


And then suddenly, Andy swung his briefcase strap over his shoulder and said while walking away, “I can’t stand here and watch these houses burn.”

And, so we all got in our cars.

It was like driving home in a scene from a Mad Max movie.  The streets were alternately bumper to bumper and then suddenly deserted, the sky was orange and ash was raining down from several miles away.

That was yesterday, and here’s the rub, this story isn’t over.  This morning a new day dawned.  And this is unlike the day after the destruction that follows a storm, typhoon, or other natural disaster,  where you can begin to move forward.  Instead, we are watching and waiting for the temperature and the winds, which yesterday blew up this fire, to return and whip it back into a frenzy pushing it towards new neighborhoods.

The Simple Year  is largely about a family learning to live with less and a departure from dependence on products and “stuff”.  Last night, I told someone that my evacuation kit was my hard drive and a case of wine.

But, that’s not the truth, my evacuation kit is actually just the necessities.  It’s Kayla, Kelsey, myself (OK, the dog, too)  and full tank of gas.