Recurring nightmare and Recent events

Just a mere two months ago, I was at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference. On opening day the lunchtime speaker shared her family’s experience of losing their home to the Waldo Canyon fire. The 2013 conference was themed “Rising from the Ashes” in dedication to all that had happened to our community and with a vow that we would regrow together. The recount, beautifully written and presented, was a tearfest. Every local writer in the large ballroom had been affected in some way. Many, like me, had been displaced. A few lost homes, many opened their homes, some were actively involved in direct support to firefighting and everyone knew someone that fell into every category along the way.

The room contained about the same number of attendees as the number of houses lost and was dead silent. Her account was moving and informative, both relating to shared experience and revealing unique circumstances. The out-of-state visitors had many sincere questions and true compassion. The recollection stirred up raw sensations buried within me.

For about a month, I’ve been dreading the first anniversary, June 23.

The thought of seeing archived media coverage has been unnerving. Images of houses burning, beautiful National Forest destroyed, sirens, smoke plumes, the nighttime lava-like glow, the constant reel of news briefs, the smell and taste of smoke day after day, the orangey color when the sun pushes through the haze that shrouds the city, the sound of aircrafts delivering hope for containment are most but not all of the memories that have shaken my senses and quickened my heartbeat.

The surreality of a living nightmare.

Our city was preparing to face those feelings head on, celebrate the successes and continue to heal. I was bracing myself for the onslaught of images and searching for the comfort zones where tragedy meets community. Where friendships grow stronger and values solidify.

We were evacuated from our home and thankfully were able to return to a house and neighborhood fully intact. But 18,247 acres burned, 346 homes were destroyed, 32,000 residents were evacuated, and it was dubbed the most expensive fire in Colorado state history with insurance claims totaling more than $352.6 million.

Two days ago, well before our community has found peace, another fire has attacked our city.

It’s day 3 of the Black Forest fire. The latest news briefing stated 15,700 acres burned, 38,000 people evacuated, 360 homes destroyed and counting, no containment and two people have been found dead.

While it’s the most threatening fire right now, it’s not the only one in our state.

And the nightmare continues.


14 responses to “Recurring nightmare and Recent events”

  1. It is awful. And being from out of town, I have so many people “back home” getting nervous that I’m in harm’s way. Thankfully the fire is no where near me and my family. But I know of a lot of people that are affected.

    1. So true. Both fires affected everyone in some way. It is an attack on the whole. But clearly some have experienced more loss than others….

  2. Jennifer Lovett Avatar
    Jennifer Lovett

    Great reflection Deidre… it breaks my heart that our town is dealing with this again but just like last year, it will survive. The community is strong and proud and dedicated. I just love Colorado Springs!

  3. I smell smoke as I read your post. I hate that there has to be fire in order for us to rise from the ashes. Enough fire already!

  4. Did you go to the anniversary at Mountain Shadows Park tonight? It was a wonderful, positive tribute, happy chatter all around, fire fighters and police officers walking around, the Flying W Ranch employees mingling and talking about their rebuilding efforts. The view from the park showed houses intact, houses being built, green trees and blackened trees. It ran the gamut. And yet it was a night filled with hope.

    On the less positive end of things, when I saw that plume over black forest, my heart stopped and I thought “Not again.” I wish this drought would end, and our summers could be full of blue skies and carefree hours in the sun again.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

    1. That’s for sure!…An incredible community has risen from the ashes and plowed through the smoke. It takes hard times to discover strengths, both individually and as a group. It’s a good example of how much growth can happen in a year. I am hopeful we’ll see huge strides of growth for Black Forest.

      And I’m with you Shannon… I’m wishing the same!!

  5. How frightening and to have the threat yet again…hang in there!
    California is in the midst of our worst drought ever with fire season just around the corner. Many are nervous and rightly so.
    A-Z Challenge partner, Christine London here—just dropping by to see if the madness has yet set in (even before we begin) What is “A” for? Hmm…
    Hope to see you around the A-Z April world.

    1. Hi Christine! I just heard on the radio today that fire danger was high…geez and gulp. You are so good to be starting early, I’ll be stopping by yours real soon!

  6. While it is sad that natural disasters and such happen, it does tend to bring out the willingness of people to help out others.

    LuAnn Braley
    AJ’s Hooligans @AtoZChallenge
    Back Porchervations

    1. So true, LuAnn. Community support was something good that came from it all.

  7. Checked out your blog through the A-Z challenge and noticed this post. I will be attending the Pikes Peak conference at the end of April. it will be my first one in C Springs, my home town too. Looking forward to a fire free summer this year. Fingers crossed. Enjoy your posts!

    1. Awesome Kari! I will be at the PPWC this year too…hope to see you there. So fun meeting fellow writers and so much information. Be ready for an explosion of inspiration!

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