My mind and my heart are filled with appreciation. Last year on this date a raging forest fire, the Stouts Fire, burned relentlessly toward my home.
Fire crews from across the nation and the world descended on our community as the fire spread to more than 26,000 acres.
They saved my home.
Our roads were filled with fire trucks, ambulances and water trucks as ashes and smoke filled our valley.
I was afraid. Would I lose my home again?
Eleven years before my home and all of my belongings burned to the ground.
I learned about resilience and determination that year.
Actually I think I learned to be more than resilient that year.
That year I learned I could wake up each day and face a world that was strange and surreal.
I could survive the grief of losing my husband. I could live in a bare bones home without the little things collected over 36 years of marriage.
I could learn to fix water pipes and hold my sons and grandchildren as they cried.
I did not want to be brave or strong or resilient.
I did not want to smell smoke on me or buy all new pots and pans and clothes. I did not want to lose all the family photos we had collected since the last fire.
I did not want to practice meditation once more on the bare ground where a home of mine stood.
No. No. No. Not again.
My home did not burn down last August and for that I am deeply grateful.
Crews built fire lines around my home. They put in sprinkles and water tanks.
They worked for hours, sleeping for a few minutes before going back to the lines.
Hundreds more crew members cooked, cleaned, held community information meetings, created maps and more.
They left their homes and families to come to our community to save our homes.
Words just don’t capture the magnitude of what they did.
Butterflies, birds, lizards and deer greet me every morning.
To all of the fire crew members who were here last year
and to all the fire crews who this year are out there protecting other homes
and other forests and towns . . .
Thank You. Thank You . Thank You.
I am forever grateful to you, my heroes.