Boulder, Colorado is on fire tonight. And not in the manner the city that's host to my college Alma mater and home for many years is often defined or portrayed in the media. And local pubs.
Initial reports say a car hit a propane tank over the holiday weekend in one of the woody areas up the hill and started a blaze that shot plumes of surprisingly white clouds at first, later raining ashes for miles and miles. As of tonight 140 structures are gone. "Structures" means barns and schools and homes. 140 photo albums, special pairs of boots, letters, books, things that don't matter really I guess. But look up from your glowing screen right now. Look around at wherever you are, at your things, your coffee shop, your library. Your people. Imagine what's been lost. Imagine being locked out, forced out by nature for the last three days.
One of the amazing doctors I met this year who treated me with care and comedy and pathos has lost her home. Saw her in one of those online videos anyone with an integrated camera can create and post to a news site. I'm not the praying type, but I pray in my own manner for her. For the people and the animals and the land and the loss. And yes, cynics, when you move to a hilly wild area there are rules, fire lines must be drawn. Safety number one. You anticipate and plan, the worry attached to the reward.
Doesn't make it any more palatable.
I ache for my city and for those dealing with beauty lost. Everything will return, the homes and the flora and the fawna and the dogs and the cats and the air that smells most often like grass and a flower I could name if I knew about those things. Tonight it smells like charcoal in the bottom of my Hibachi. It smells wrong and unwelcome.
I love Boulder. I love its madness and its pretentious nature and its patchouli stink and its transparent hold that welcomes me every time I descent over and past the highway lookout that unveils the Flatirons and the fourteeners and the fancy homes way up in the hills and the University that fed my mind and laid ground for my passion. And for the people.
People who want to touch it so much they live up the hills.
The hills that are on fire right now.