Sunday, July 10, 2011

Worries from my porch

Las Conchas fire as seen from my porch on July 6th. photo by Kara McGee
Since my last two posts were about drought, wild land fire worries, smoke, prayers for rain, I feel like I need to give an update.

New Mexico has had it's own large fire.  The largest forest fire in the state's history.   This morning, on July 10, it is 146,353 acres with 45% containment.   It started June 26.  You may have heard about it because it came close to Los Alamos and the  Los Alamos National Lab.  It's called the Las Conchas fire. 

We saw it from our back porch about an hour after it started.  I knew it was going to be a terrible monster fire.  There was too much wind that day and it looked like it started in a dense forest area with lots of fuel (trees) to burn.   That first day it grew to 43,000 acres.   Seeing the fire that night was one of the worst sights I've ever seen.  Heartbreaking is the only word that I can use to describe it.

I won't report all the details about this fire or the other fires because those are reported about elsewhere.  I feel very sad for all the communities who have suffered in this loss.  I worry for all the animals too.   I am not in the middle of it but it has deeply touched my daily life these past few weeks.  My heart feels heavy.

This has been a tough year so far.  The snow and rain just stopped in January.  We normally get wind in March and April but this year it did not stop.   I think the heavy wind red flag warning days finally stopped about a week ago.  New Mexico has suffered the worst drought in recorded history between January to June 2011.    Here at my home we would normally have recorded 5-6 inches of rain from Jan to June.  We recorded only .71 inches.  

I've become tense.  My creative dawdling has suffered.  I've begun to feel dried up, brittle.  I daydream about Portland.  I daydream about vacations away, but since I have a cat who needs a lot of special care it's hard to get away.   I've spent weeks under a fear of fire erupting closer to my home.  That is a post for another day about what would I take if I had the chance to evacuate.      

Today, the good news is the monsoon rain we usually get is on the way.  The Las Conchas fire did not receive rain yesterday, but we got .19 inches.   That is almost a third of what we got in the first 6 months of the year so it was great reason to do a happy dance! I did it in front of all my neighbors at an annual neighborhood party.  Everyone was happy but I was the only one who danced.  A creative dawdler will dance when we finally get significant measurable rain!   It truly feels like we will get some good rain soon in this state.  Enough to put out these fires.   I just pray the potential flooding won't be as devastating as the fires.

Every year I hang Tibetan prayer flags out in an enclosed outdoor area that we call the cat run.  Our cats get to go outside without the danger of becoming coyote or bobcat food.  This year I  had some delay in finding flags.  The ones I found are three times as long as I usually buy.  I hope the abundance will make for abundant prayers into the wind.    The Hubster helped me hang them on July 8.  I prayed for rain.  Since we get them every year I know that the first few summer rains usually wash a lot of the dye out of them.  This year I want to see them fade quickly.    I was happy for yesterdays rain and looking forward to more. 

Prayer flags awaiting fading.  May the prayers for rain and renewal travel far and wide.


  1. Oh, I would have joined the happy rain dance! I've been feeling heart-heavy, too--though from afar. I'm so hoping that the monsoon rains bring you what you need, and don't add to the problems. And may those beautiful flags fade quickly!!

  2. Like Karen, I would have joined you in your happy dance at the slightest bit of rain. Catching up on this post just now reminded me of October of 2007 when I started blogging and 13 fires were burning all around us in Southern California. Several of my early posts on both my Blogger sites have images from those fires and I shared my own worries at that time even as I felt great gratitude to you and Jan for getting me started blogging for the first time. How much has happened for all of us since then ...

    I appreciate your 'email head-up' directing my attention here. Last week a friend in Arizona mentioned a fire near Los Alamos. I thought immediately of you and intended to send email, but I've not spent much time at all online of late so I'm behind on everything 'computer-related' with more that 2600 unread emails in my inbox. It's just cRaZy and I've got to get myself OFF these lists somehow.

    My heart goes out to you and all those affected by these devastating fires and I join you in prayers for much needed rain in the Southwest.

    I love your Tibetan Prayer flags and almost bought some myself a couple of weeks ago when Jan and Kathy were visiting and we walked through the Tuesday evening 'street fair' downtown in Huntington Beach after a meal of Taos at Duke's. Instead I purchased a lovely inscribed silver Tibetan bowl that plays the most beautiful resonant sound when struck with a special wooden stick. Perhaps I'll buy the flags on my next Tuesday evening visit downtown.

    I do hope this fire is completely contained and extinguished very soon.
    Hugs and blessings,