Sorry folks. The muse has been silenced by the Black Forest Fire. I had all of last week between jobs (today is the first day at the new job). I had planned to crank out 10,000 words or more on the novel, but that just didn’t happen. A huge fire broke out in Black Forest (south of my house by a few miles), and quickly spread. We were evacuated Wednesday afternoon, and could not return home until Saturday night.
Through the generosity and graciousness of some of our friends, we (and our animals) had a place to stay while we were out of the house. I haven’t had a chance to hang out with these folks in a while, so I spent a vast majority of my waking time alternating between worrying and praying about the fire, and chatting with my friends about everything else in life, except the fire.
All-in-all, I’m disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to write anything on the novel, but compared to how 483 other households have fared in the fire, I count myself very fortunate. I can’t stress enough how much I love the community we have in Southern Colorado. There were over 48,000 people evacuated from the fire. From the vague news reports at the shelters I’ve read about, there were only a few thousand people resorting to sleeping on the floor or in tents at the shelters. This means that well over 40,000 people found a place to flee to in the form of friends and family and (in some cases) total strangers.
That makes me proud.
Personally, I received over 15 direct emails or phone calls with offers of shelter from the fire. I received many more general offers that were put out on public forums. All but two of these came from the writing community here in the Pikes Peak region. Writing may be a solitary endeavor most of the time, but when the community is threatened by anything, anything at all, writers band together stronger than any other group I’ve seen. We’re brothers and sisters in arms, but we wield pens, not swords.
There is nothing that will tear us apart.
I’ve always been proud to be a writer. Now I’m even more proud to be part of the writing community that holds strong against all odds.
Thanks to all of the writers, friends and family that are out there supporting the victims of this horrific disaster. I pray for those who have lost most everything. I pray for the souls of the two people that died in their efforts to evacuate their house as trees exploded around them. I wish they could have escaped their house, but it wasn’t meant to be. I pray for the heroic first responders (firefighters, soldiers, police, national guard, pilots, paramedics, and more) that bravely rush into chaos where those who are sane flee. Thank you to all of those who are still battling the blaze.
My family and friends are safe from harm. For that I’m thankful.
I’ll trade the loss of productivity for that outcome any day of the week.