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We are but mere mortals

Not many things can take the “witty” out of this woman, but this past week finds me increasingly horrified, helpless and heartbroken.

I’m not at all sure how we, as mere mortals, can defy, fight and quench a fire as large as those which are raging in Colorado.

It brings home to me how small we really are.

I was born in Los Angeles, a California girl through and through; until I moved to  Colorado and made it my home for nearly 14 years. I loved it then, and I love it still. Colorado is a place that doesn’t easily leave your mind or your heart. It stays with you, and you are lucky for it.

I think of the majesty, the beauty and the wonder of this amazing state. I think of its wild life and wonder what chance it has in a devastation as wicked as this. I think of all the wonderful Coloradan’s who love and respect their state and count themselves lucky to live there. They are.

This morning the news shared that 32,000 have been evacuated and over 15,000 acres have burned in the Waldo Canyon Fire; the fire is only 5% contained. 

If it’s true that the universe hears and responds to goodness and positive thoughts, then let us all ban together, each of us, everywhere. Like the Who’s in Who-ville, let us lift our voices and our prayers for the support, safety and strength of heart for the firefighters, the citizens, the wild creatures that all have one thing in common: to survive.

The ongoing loss is overwhelming and yet to be truly calculated. But the heartbreak is ever present.

And so … I contribute, I pray, I watch and I hope.  If this is all that is left for us mere mortals to do, let us do it.


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susan smart - Such a lovely, heart felt post, Tammy. Living in Colorado as I do, I am seeing first hand , nature’s fury and wrath. The men and women on the first line of defence are risking their lives every moment of these 24 hour days. With temps over 100, low humidity, winds; it’s all a perfect setting for these continuous fires. You said it well….we all thank you for that. We pray.

Joan Cooper - I was just thinking – time for a blog from Tammy – I am over my head in political incompetence and daily news. Tammy’s blog is a great diversion.

How does this fit Colorado’s disaster? Canada has better fire fighting water planes than we do. California has borrowed or rented them on occasion. I heard that the Taliban and other’s like it, feel setting wild fires in the US is a good thing for their cause.
What does our government intelligence ofices have to say about this?

The political system in this country affects all of us personally at some point. I wish I knew how to start the revolution.

Believe me, Tammy, I know about wild fires. I lived in Topanga over 20 years and experienced a bad fire shortly after moving there. The smell is beyond anything you have ever experienced. Even after the fires for a long long time. We were only saved because there was no wind and the fire fighters gave us their all as they were not busy elsewhere.

Why did the Colorado fires grow so large? Why weren’t the military and help from every State on site to help. Where was the coordination.

In disasters, the US is always first there. Where is help for us when we need it – yet the government is about to give Egype 1 1/2 billion dollars to help them. I thought we did not have any money?

Government does not protect us. That is the first obligation of government. How can we change what is to what should be?

Joan Cooper

Tammy - Hi Susan, my heart is so uneasy, so sad and so riddled with fear and hope both at the same time. Even though I am 1,300 miles away … I am with you. These fighters of fire, these amazing people, God bless them and keep them safe. And you, my friend, stay safe yourself. Yes … we pray.

Kellie - I so recall the beach fires in California a few years back. The San Diego fires and who can forget the Northern California fires many years back (outside Oakland). Such a loss. Makes you really think about what possessions you would grab at the last minute. For me my pets and photos.

Tammy - Hi Joan, you don’t need to start a revolution, you ARE a revolution. That’s awesome! I remember the Topanga fires many years ago. The weather in Colorado is like no other. The afternoons bring lightening storms with strong winds. I use to love that about the state. But in this case, it stirs the fires each day to where nothing could control them. Lightening just starts new ones. It is a perfect storm. But your question as to why military and help from other states are not on sight to help, is a good one. I know that California has lent some planes and fighters. I am at a loss as to why the area has not been declared a disaster area. That would free up substantial money, equipment and personnel. Watching what is happening in this state is heart wrenching. Regarding our funds to Egypt – it will be very interesting to see how this will continue in light of the recent election. I have a feeling things will change. Thanks for being here and for your post!

Tammy - Hi Kellie, I once wrote a blog questioning which of the natural forces was more destructive: fire, water, wind, earthquakes. I’m starting to believe that the answer is fire. When I lived in Colorado Springs I was lucky enough to be in the Broadmoor mountains. Once we were mildly threatened with a fire. I grabbed a plate that my daughter had made me in kindergarten, our photo albums, our pets and ourselves. Funny, isn’t it, what things we take when only our heart speaks to us? If our brains were talking, we’d take clothes, shoes and jewelry. I’ll listen to the heart any day! Thanks for visiting and sharing.

mickey landau - I was thinking of you this morning and how our former home is facing such devastation.
Been trying to reach all in the immediate face of danger without much luck. My nephew just moved to Boulder and we have not been able to reach him – so we pray that he and all those wonderful people we left behind will be safe.
Pray for rain.

Tammy - Hi Mickey, our homes at the top of Skyway, are, for the moment, out of harms way. But Rockrimmon, Woodman, even Woodland Park are all ablaze. The fire seems headed for Monument. So many fires brewing in our beautiful Colorado. So much devastation. Survival is all that matters to us now. I’m with you … we pray that all those wonderful people we left behind are safe and sound. If we were still there, Mickey, our bedrooms would be filled with our displaced friends. We would break out the pet kibble, open the tequila and hold tight together. Holding hands with you through this, my friend. Just like old times.

mickey landau - amen. holding hands across the miles.

Tamie - Joan,
THIS administration has no desire to take care of the people in THIS country. It has been demonstrated again and again. And we don’t have any money! I think the way to change what is, is obvious.

Nancy Wurtzel - Tammy, well said…and from the heart. Colorado is in our thoughts and we can only hope the elements can be contained to end the firestorms.

maureen - Having lived in No. Calif. and been evacuated (luckily never in direct danger) I can begin to imagine how scary and dangerous this is – and I have friends and family in Colorado. I’m adding my prayers to yours!

Marcia - Life is not the same today as it used to be. I cannot describe the fear, the sense of helplessness that this fire brings to us all here in Colorado Springs. My car trunk is filled with what I deem to be the most precious articles of my “wealth” – photographs of my children, family and friends, a few inherited pieces of jewelry I will always treasure and my tax records (really?). Yes, really. My daughter asked that I make sure to take “Bunny”, her treasured stuffed animal who went everywhere with her as a child. Bunny now sits quietly in the trunk of my car, anxious, no doubt, for a long-awaited trip in the car (it’s been years). I have everything that I need in my car. That statement takes me back a bit and begs the question – how much does one really need? I have what I need, what is most dear and precious to me. I carry most of that in my heart, and some in the trunk of my car….just in case.
Today was a bit quiet on the homefront. Many people are not working, as they have been displaced and are away from the area or are in shelters, or are at home awaiting evacuation orders. My life and my home are safe. For this I am eternally grateful. The Colorado climate can, however, be unpredictable, and I will not let my guard down.
The lessons learned from this are many, and I will reflect on this for years to come. I know now what is truly important, and have seen a community rise above, individuals and organizations continuously put their own needs on the back burner, selfishness aside, and come to the aid of those in need. We rise above, that’s what we do. We survive and rebuild. But first, we put Bunny in the trunk.

Tammy - Hi Maureen, we stand today, yesterday and tomorrow, all of us, Coloradan’s. Thanks, Maureen, so very glad to hear from you. Our prayers are entwined.

Tammy - Oh, Marcia, it’s been years and yet it seems like yesterday that we car-pooled our girls. I’ve never met such warm people as I did in Colorado. Of course they will rally, support, help and rebuild. I also know that many of the “Coloradan’s” are transplants from California, Texas, Canada, etc. These days we are all Coloradan’s. No doubt you are on edge. No doubt you have been forced to take stock of your possessions. I can only imagine the fear that is rampant in your heart. So very wise of you to have your car packed. Of course Bunny is in the car; a life treasure cannot be denied safe transport. Let us hope that it never comes to that. I remember your home, so beautiful, and yet all that really matters are those few things you mentioned (damn those tax records!). I was just wondering this morning if it was business as usual. Can’t imagine that it could be. Everyone is waiting. Waiting to hear, waiting to move out quickly, waiting for it all to end. I’m right there with you….and Bunny. My love to you Miss Marcia. Stay safe.

Jeffrey Davidson - Tammy,

Beautifully stated and certainly heartfelt.

One of my fears is that they were started by an arsonist. Mother nature periodically e flora and fauna. We necessarily intervene to save lives, wildlife and possessions.

There is no way to measure the suffering by those directly affected by this devastation similar to the last big earthquake here.

Our well wishes go to all of those affected. The most important thing is the safety of the many threatened lives of families and friends and the wildlife. Structures can be replaced, lives and memories can not.

Colorado will be declared a disaster area soon but that should have bearing on getting the much needed additional support for fighting this massive devastation. The last report I heard was hoping to have of the fires contained or extinguished by the end of summer. That’s another 3 months! Can we really afford to wait that long?

Jeffrey Davidson - Please excuse my typos!

Gary - Tammy,
As usual, your blog has hit the bull’s eye. As an evacuee here in Colorado Springs, we all really appreciate the sincere compassion and support from you and the thousands who are eagerly jumping on board to help in any way they can.

It truly is an emotional event. This morning’s report is over 300 homes have been destroyed. The unknown of not knowing if one of those is yours is a helpless feeling. The positive in all of this is the reaction of so many. Everybody seems more friendly and helpful. The so called “Little Things in Life” have once again risen to the top of the list as the really “BIG THINGS” in life. Houses can be replaced in 90 days and are a dime a dozen. Neighbors, friends, and family coming together to supporting each other and becoming closer is priceless. We all need an occasional jolt to prioritize what really are the important things in life. Damn, the jolt doesn’t feel too good.

cheryl - There are lessons, good and bad, to be learned from every one of life’s experiences, good and bad. We are currently being shown the power of Mother Nature and it is frighteningly awesome. If they learn, as I have heard rumors, that this was started deliberately by someone, you will not want to hear my response. Miss Tammy, you can wordsmith your thoughts so beautifully and eloquently—I agree with your sentiments. love you

Marcia Nichols - Thanks Tammy – the support coming from miles around is astounding, and comforting. Today is a better day – weather is cooperating, and it’s only 85 today. That is an enormous improvement when compared to the 95+ temps we endured earlier in the week (think of the firefighters…). The sky is blue, and the clouds are white. The haze is minimal where I am.
No, it’s not business as usual. It’s quiet, and somber faces abound. We will rebuild, and we will survive.
“Our” neighborhood appears to have survived the firestorm. That said, we’re still cautious, as the fire is erratic and somewhat unpredictable.
I’m grateful that I am safe, and my home secure. Bunny, however, is still in the trunk of my car.

Shirlene - HI Tammy. \ It is awefull. I can smell the smoke from Parker at times. It is very disconcerting to say the least. You
know that the church I pastor at is in Monument. I wonder if I need to down there and get my 3 walls of pastoral books out of there. I don’t want to overreact….
I’m still praying for God’s hand to be at work here to help.

Tammy - Hi Jeffrey, I don’t think we can afford to wait that long. But, sadly, I don’t believe the choice is ours. Fires of this magnitude will burn until they are burned out. A scary thought. Even scarier is the fact that summer has just begun. The prior year Colorado saw massive snow fall thereby providing tons of water for green growth. This past year they saw pity little snowfall, providing little water to the lush grown from the year before. Thus providing a perfect scenario for tinderbox shrubbery that is exploding in fire across the state. So much at risk, so much at stake. I’m not sure why the state has not been declared a disaster area as of yet. It boggles me. We have a whole summer ahead of us. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Thanks for being here, Jeff, and for your post.

Tammy - Hi Gary, So happy to have you here. The fires have uprooted you big time. Beyond horrible. Emotional? You bet. It’s emotional for me to the point of tears at times. I can only imagine what you are living through. You’re right, of course, the good rises to the top and that is the silver lining to this fire cloud. It is good to be humbled so that we understand what is truly important. But this humbling carries with it a brutality that no one or no creature should have to endure. My heart aches for you and all the others. I’m not worried about you. I know everyone will rebuild and I agree that houses are a dime a dozen. It’s what we keep in them that are the real treasures. For this loss, I am so sorry. Please keep me posted, won’t you?

Tammy - Hi Cheryl, I’m not sure we will ever find out if this particular fire was started by arson. I wonder how they can tell. We both know that Colorado has no shortage of lighting strikes this time of year. I just assume that the vulnerable tinderbox brush was struck and the rest is history. If it was arson, the guilty party could not encounter one safe place to be. The anger will turn to hatred which will turn to violence. The losses have been too great and too many for it be any other way. I hope that you are right, and that it was Mother Nature at her worst. Thanks for you kind review. I love you too!!

Tammy - Hi Shirlene, I’m not sure any one can over react in a situation such as this. The state is burning, destruction is rampant. If you can secure your books, I hope you find a way to do it. Stay strong and stay safe. You, pastor Shirleen, are in my prayers.

Tammy - Marcia, thanks for the update. The way things are going, it’s going to be a long, hot, tinderbox of a summer. Clear the brush away from the house. As you know, lightening strikes are so common this time of year. It’s a scary thought but having survived ‘this’ fire doesn’t mean you won’t be susceptible to another. I shudder to think. Perhaps it is a good call to leave Bunny in the trunk. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I’m hoping right along with you!

Tammy - Jeff, consider them excused! Good to know I’m not the only one!

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