Fire & Drought
This summer, my usual view of this Montezuma County landscape was marred by the towering pyro-cumulous cloud above the 416 and Burro fires.
The grasses outside our home that are usually green and lush well into July never got green at all.
The four-o-clock flowers and yarrow that generally grow big and bushy with lots of purple and yellow flowers look puny, even after regular drip irrigation.
Weather is often overheard in conversations at the Lewis Post Office, at the Dolores Market, and the Ute Coffee Shop, or at Business After Hours. Nowadays, weather is often the singular topic. There is a collective tension about the drought.
I, myself, am constantly scanning the horizon more often than usual: not only to admire the sunset or moonrise (which remain beautiful) but to see if the plume of smoke has gotten bigger and hoping that there won’t be a new column of grey rising in the northeast corner of the county. The firefighters who secured fire lines to protect homes and buildings are heroes for all of us. Farmers and ranchers who work hard each day to conserve water are also heroes to me. What I see and what I hear illustrates strength, tenacity, and the ability to bounce back.
I have faith that Montezuma and surrounding counties will recover (as they have for so many years in events like this one).
And I have faith that this fire and drought has given us all a reason to reach across political boundaries to our neighbors and make sure our community is healthy.
I know we, like the forest in our majestic landscape, will regenerate.