On Monday I walked around Walden Ponds, birding. I had planned to be there the day before, for First Sunday birding with the Boulder Bird Club, but I had stayed up too late Saturday night and couldn’t get out of bed Sunday morning. So here I was, wandering slanted paths between a couple of gravel-pits-turned-ponds, when I noticed the birds were skulking and the air was hazy despite the fierce winds.
As I rounded the turn where the great horned owls nest in the winter, at about 11 o’clock, I smelled smoke and saw it in the air. It took a few moments for my mind to process the facts: It can’t be a controlled burn, I said to myself. It’s too windy today for any sensible person to set a fire. It must be a wildfire.
Smoke obscured some of the mountains; I couldn’t locate the exact source of the fire. I walked quickly back to the parking lot, and when I got home to Broomfield, my husband was listening to the police radio. People were searching for a large group of kids camping somewhere in the vicinity of the fire, in Fourmile Canyon.
I was planning to write this post about the small events of the past week, a series of slight mishaps that could have been averted with more thought. I wanted to connect my tendency to avoid planning to my ambitions to travel, and how I knew unplanning would get me into trouble at some point. I wondered if I would be able to cope.
But then I heard, via a networking group, of a woman whose home burned while she was in Seattle. She didn’t get a chance to save even a few things. After that, I wasn’t in the mood to write about a concert, or a meal, or a movie.
Travel presents opportunities for growth. So do sudden events that rearrange our lives. I haven’t been subject to many of them, and for that I’m grateful.
Blessings to those who live in Fourmile Canyon and the other areas affected by the fire.