Monday, June 17, 2013

Living in a tinderbox!

The past week has been a little exciting. It could have been worse, but sometimes one thing prepares you for another. In our case, our practice with hauling horses and camping made an evacuation a piece of cake.

Last Tuesday, I was sitting at Panera Bread for my weekly critique group meeting. I got a text from my husband that there was a fire near the home of one of our friends. I interrupted the group to call and leave a message offering any assistance needed.

Five minutes later, my mom called wondering why I wasn't on my way home because there was a FIRE! My mom tends to exaggerate and worry, so I said we were almost done and I'd be home soon.

Then someone looked out the window and hollered. No exaggeration, this was a real FIRE. Huge smoke plume billowing over the beautiful Black Forest area north of Colorado Springs. Uh, right where we live. So I ran home and gain a little more perspective. We were about 4 miles away and the wind was blowing away. My mom packed everything she cares about. I walked around and realized there was nothing I cared about any more than the other things and figured there was nothing really to worry about. We hooked the trucks up to both horse trailers (we have 7 horses).

But we did stay up all night watching the non-stop news coverage, just in case the wind changed. The next day, the wind was predicted to change. So I packed some minimal clothes so I wouldn't be doing something unimportant if the worst happened. Then it got dark, the smoke cloud was way high, but right over us. So we packed the hay and grain for the horses. Then the smoke dropped, we couldn't see across our property and all our cell phones started going off with evacuation orders.

We threw the suitcases in the trucks, grabbed some food, loaded the horses way easier than I'd expected and started looking for a place to go. I knew one friend had said we were welcome, but I couldn't reach her. By the time we made it to her place someone else had brought their animals in, so we tried the fairgrounds. No way our crazy arabs were going to be polite to all those nice mannered quarter horses, so we decided to head back to our friend, we could just tie the horses to the trailer if need be. Cuz we do that for fun on our endurance rides.

Then other friends started asking for help evacuating a llama farm. We couldn't help because our trailers were still full and would soon have horses tied to them. So they found somewhere else for us to go to free up our rigs.

We ended up making a whole extended family of new friends (two of them had evacuated as well, with dogs instead of horses though). For us, the whole thing turned into a little vacation. We had limited internet so hubby could work, but really he just watched the news. The horses made new friends, we even went on a trail ride. And we lived in the living quarters of our horse trailer. We made plans in case our property burned. Boy, would our lives be simpler, and much easier to just move anywhere we wanted. There has to be a silver lining in everything. Has to be.

Of course the darkest point was watching the number of homes burned, tracking the addresses as they came in and finding out that some of our friends had lost everything. Not to mention, the beautiful Black Forest becoming truly blackened. So many people have had their lives turned upside down. We're trying to find places for some to live, some temporarily, some permanently. Our property (which was never closer than 1/4 mile to the flames) has room for more horses. We'll all pull together. Everyone has some strength or past experience that will help someone else get through this.

They still don't know what caused this fire, but I sure hope they find out and catch the person if it was man-made. And I'll warn anyone now - do NOT throw a cigarette butt out of your car in front of me because I will make a phone call and then I will follow you. I'll make the rest up as I go.

Be strong everyone, you will get through this. Tomorrow is Tuesday and I haven't done any writing or editing. Where's the silver lining in that? Well, I came up with a great new book idea!

1 comment:

  1. so glad you and the fam are safe!

    and what's this about a new story idea???