Sunday, July 22, 2012


There's nothing like a tragedy to make you rethink your life,
                                                                          regroup your priorities, and
                                                                                       recognize your blessings.

A couple days ago, a fire started in Alpine, maybe 5 miles from our home.  The Quail fire.  Haylee came home shortly before 3 from a neighbor's home and told me there was a new fire.  10 minutes later we drove down to Smiths at the bottom of the hill.  I could hardly keep my eyes on the road.  It was so close.  So close.  Dozens of people stood in the parking lot and in a line in front of the store just staring at the smoke.  Inside the store, most people were on their phones as they shopped, passing on the news about the fire.  I was shaking. I almost threw up a couple times. But we managed to get the things on our list.  During the 30 minutes or so we were were in the store, the smoke had multiplied exponentially.  I couldn't believe it.  The side of the road home was dotted with cars.  People stood on top of their cars with their cell phones, taking pictures or video taping the rapidly growing smoke.  It was black and white and HUGE.  We got home.  I went outside.  I could see smoke and flames and it felt like it was getting closer.  Then I turned on the news.  Haylee was with me and she could tell I was scared and it made her scared.  Then I heard "suncrest" and froze.  That's where we are.  We were advised to pack a "to go" bag and standby to evacuate.

 Right after it started

From the Smiths parking lot at the bottom of the hill

2 days earlier, both the Mr. and I had been prompted to get our emergency "to go" bag updated and in order.

I watched the news all afternoon.  We ate sandwiches on the deck for dinner while we watched the mountain burn.  When our kids were in bed and it got dark we watched the fire flare up all over the mountain.  Then we went to bed wondering what would happen if the expected wind shift occurred and we did have to evacuate our home.
Partially up the hill

Entrance to our neighborhood (same view as the first picture) about 30 minutes later

From our backyard

In the morning, I was so frustrated and annoyed because I couldn't find any sort of update on the fire on tv, the net or radio.

Eventually, our "standby" status was lifted.  And we celebrated Independence day with our family.

I am so grateful for our country.  For the colors red, white and blue that when put together, stand as a stalwart reminder of the freedoms I have.  Freedoms I possess but don't often think about.  While the kids were watching fireworks and BJ was at work I watched a show about American soldiers coming home to their families.  I cried like a baby.  Seriously.  From fear and relief and gratitude.  And I promised myself to try really hard not to take any of it for granted.

Then I watched what fireworks I could see from our deck across the valley.  Then I watched a firework display from New York on tv and cried again to the music.  All those same songs they play every year at every firework display everywhere.  I love that handful of songs.  I don't care who you are, when you hear "I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free!"  and then at the end,  "and I'll gladly stand up (pause then boom) next to you and defend her still today!  Cause there aint no doubt I love this land!  God bless the USA!"  You have goosebumps.  Admit it.  Me too. Again.

1 comment:

Tammy and Alvin said...

Wow! Scary! So glad you were spared. I love all the pics in the recent posts. Awesome waffles! Happy Summer!