Against the WindPosted: April 23, 2011
Unbelievable. I’m sitting here this morning looking out my library window at falling snow. Until several days ago that would mean a reprieve from the unsettledness of the extreme fire season. Not so anymore. Thursday it snowed. Thursday afternoon the Meyer Ranch fire started.
All this week Bob Seger’s Against The Wind has played over and over in my head. Running against the wind. That’s what we – Animal Evac Volunteers – were doing last Sunday morning, some of us that maintain red card certification. We weren’t really running. That isn’t allowed during pack tests. The three levels of pack tests are arduous, moderate and light. Arduous pack test = 3-mile hike with 45 lb pack in 45 minutes. Moderate field test = 2-mile hike with 25 lb pack in 30 minutes. Light walk test = 1-mile hike with no pack in 16 minutes. No jogging or running in any of them. Still, it was against the wind.
Walking against the wind. It was so freakin’ windy last Sunday. Head down, against the wind. You’d think the wind would push you along on the opposite side of the track, but nope. The track sits in a hillside, which kept the wind away on one side of the track. The side where the wind would have pushed us along.
Our fearless leader Chuck did the arduous. Ken and Laurel did the moderate. I did the light. They wore vests containing the appropriate amount of weight. The vests are weighed before the test begins…
AEV was formed in 2002 during another extreme fire season. It was the year my family, including all the dogs and Laura the cat, spent three days away from home. Fortunately we were home the afternoon the Black Mountain Fire started. We live on Black Mountain. Nate had his driver’s licence. We had three vehicles and several hours warning before mandatory evacuation. There was time to prepare. But what if we hadn’t been home? Once an area is sealed off by the authorities, there’s no getting in.
People have told me, “there’s no way they could have kept me out.” Ya. Right. Then you’ve never been in that situation. It was eerie. Ash was falling. The sky was orange.
So, each year I fulfill the requirements for red card certification and volunteer for Animal Evac.
I googled the lyrics for Against the Wind this morning. Yep, the song is a love song, a long lost love. But the first verse creeped me out!
But it was long ago
Janey was lovely, she was the queen of my nights
There in the darkness with the radio playlng low
And the secrets that we shared
The mountains that we moved
Caught like a wildfire out of control
Till there was nothing left to burn and nothing left to prove