Tag Archives: Waldo Canyon Fire

Looking Fear In The Face: Sad Anniversaries

Black Forest Fire, Channel 5 news, Colorado Springs

Black Forest Fire, Channel 5 news, Colorado Springs

Rescued horse: Ch. 11 news, Colo. Spgs.

Rescued horse: Ch. 11 news, Colo. Spgs.

Army plane spraying fire, Ch. 13 news, Colo. Spgs.

DC-10 spraying the fire,
Ch. 13 news, Colo. Spgs.

Last year, the Waldo Canyon Fire closed the Garden of the Gods, burnt the Flying W to the ground and destroyed 346 homes in Colorado Springs.  On the anniversary this year, fires again rage, this time in Black Forest. The numbers from last year have been passed, and firefighters, soldiers and pilots still fight the flames while residents are evacuated and animals are cared for by the kindness of strangers throughout the county.  Canon City and The Royal Gorge south of us also fight fires.

June 11 was the 5th anniversary of the tornado that ripped through Chapman, Kansas and destroyed much of the town. Our daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren live in Chapman, and their 1893 house took a beating. Our granddaughter had been excited about starting 1st grade, but all three of the consolidated schools were gone.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross said: “The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.”

She describes what we’ve witnessed first hand, during the fires of Colorado, after the tornado in Kansas, and according to others’ observations in Oklahoma and throughout the country. Natural disasters and man-made tragedies cause horrific losses to property, life, health and hope. And yet, those who survive these disasters keep moving, one step at a time, and often emerge stronger, kinder, more grateful and hopeful than ever.

Eleanor Roosevelt said: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

And from J.R.R. Tolkien’s FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, we take hope for what will eventually follow:

All that is gold does not glitter, /  Not all those who wander are lost;  /

The old that is strong does not wither, / Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken, / A light from the shadows shall spring; /

Renewed shall be blade that was broken, / The crownless again shall be king.

Chapman house after tornado

Chapman house after tornado

Chapman house after major restoration.

Chapman house after major restoration.



Filed under lessons about life, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren, special quotations, Spiritual connections, Things to be thankful for

AFTER THE FIRE…The Power of the Pen

(Public mural painted on the entire brick side of a building in Old Colorado City by talented artist Allen Burton in 1999 and enjoyed by tourists and locals.  Photo by Marylin Warner)

Dear Mom,

Until the last decade or so, you were always writing. Maybe you don’t remember, but I do. You wrote articles and essays; you wrote children’s stories and often illustrated them.

And you wrote poetry. All kinds of poetry expressing happy occasions, interesting people you watched, places you and Dad traveled, and narrative poems that told stories. Some of the story poems were about nature and animals, and some were were lessons about life. Your poems covered real life, joys and sorrows.

This summer, Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region suffered a horrible fire that began in Waldo Canyon and spread quickly, out of control. It was the state’s most destructive wildfire, destroying nearly 350 homes and killing two people. It’s over now, but the cleanup continues. When we finally had a long-needed rain last week, the Colorado air was crisp and clean for awhile, but the burnt areas were flooded, black soot overflowing across roads and damaging more homes.

Colorado Poet Laureate David Mason wrote a poem about what happened here. I want to share it with you because he is a fellow poet, experiencing life fully, watching and recording, sharing the details through his poetry. When I come to Kansas to visit you this month, I’ll bring some of your poems along and read them to you again. Maybe, if we talk about ideas, we’ll try writing a poem together.

We love you, Mom. You’ll always be our family’s Poet Laureate.     Marylin

~      ~     ~

The Fires: A Poem by David Mason, Colorado’s Poet Laureate

Here is a house, here is a neighborhood.

Here is a street, a door, a window, a room.

Here is a drought, here a beetled pine.

Here is a wildfire leaping from limb to roof.

There is a law of lightning, law of wood.

There is a need to burn, to lose, to grow.

There is the charred scar, there the flying ash.

To dwell is not to shelter, we should know.

Here are the people packing their cars to flee.

Here are the photos in frames, the pets on leashes.

Here are the children bewildered, coughing smoke.

Here are the firemen climbing the hills in the heat.

We are the street, we are the neighborhood.

We are the garden living and dying to bloom.

We are the parched yards, we are the trembling deer.

We are the long walk looking to find our home.

(Practice-stitch sampler, used by owner’s permission. Photograph by
Marylin Warner.)


Filed under art, Dementia/Alzheimer's, lessons about life, making a difference, memories for great-grandchildren