Being a member of a community, doesn’t prepare one for a Fire. Being part of an elite team of Search and Rescue Volunteers, doesn’t prepare one for a Fire. Being a human being, doesn’t prepare one for a Fire. Looking back, nothing prepares one for the onslaught of a raging Wildfire working its way through the landscape of our existence. I remember the migration of insects the afternoon of July 3rd. The silence of the forest that surrounds my home. The innate knowledge that the atmosphere was emptying of oxygen, being drawn towards something unknown. A Tracer bullet had been fired 12 miles away, igniting a week of fear, loss, anger, resilience, support, the likes of which few have ever experienced.
By nightfall our backcountry was ablaze. Mandatory evacuations had begun. A friend of my daughters followed her down the driveway seeking shelter, as her neighborhood in Basalt was on the brink of being engulfed. Katherine and I moved my SUP towards the river, and I felt the first twinges of impending danger. I posted all information that was accessible. Listed mine and friends phone numbers for those seeking shelter. Advised valley residents to register online to recieve county alerts as they were released. Throughout the following hours, through a network of friends, organizations, and social media, we were now together, sharing a common peril that propelled us forward. We just had no idea what was coming our way.
That night was one that I can only assume is akin to floating in a lifeboat after abandoning ship. We were a drift. The night seemed endless. Seconds seemed like minutes, minutes turned to hours, please, please, let the new day begin, for in each morning there is hope for the new day. By morning the news will come that the Fire is contained, that we are out of harm’s way, that it’s 6:00 am and all is well. It never ceases to amaze me how the mind uses delusion, repeatedly, successfully, to lull one’s Psyche into a state of near denial. By 8:30 I was on my way to 4Motion Fitness in Basalt for my Wednesday morning workout with my best friend Susie thinking….It’s so hazy, what a drag…. No bike ride today. Our lives changed by 10:00 am.
Olwen S. Thomson
Photo Complements of Amanda Boxtel, Founder of Bridging Bionics.