Against the Wind

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!

It seems like yesterday
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

Blues by twos

I love these photos…


One is Lama Gyen Yeshe with two Gompa dogs. The other is a book cover. There are reasons I like each of these. Composition, particularly with the women at the counter. Texture, the peeling paint. The untold, yet richly vibrant story each beckons the viewer to discover. The foreignness of each, a far away country. Most of all I love the blues, from royal blue to blue-green to turquoise green.

Listening to the Wall Street Journal This Morning on my way to work last week one of the stories was about a cool app. I’m not an app person. My cell phone is old school and wouldn’t recognize an app if it ran into one. And that’s mostly fine with me. I hate phones. I don’t much like talking on phones. I prefer the written word (and that doesn’t mean text messaging). With this app, when you see a color you love – whether it be on a shirt or a wall – you take a photo of that color. With your smart phone of course. (Don’t tell my trust-worthy old-school phone it’s not smart!) The app then uses that photo to determine the color and connect you with paint companies that can stir up a sample and send it to you. How fun is that?!

Did I mention I hate phones? On the very same day I learned about this awesome app, my son brought Buckley up for grooming. I look forward to this because we usually go to lunch afterward. And it’s usually just the two of us. I enjoy this special time. Our conversations are different when it’s just the two of us. Often I’m reminded of the many years we spent together driving back and forth from swim practice, a 20-minute drive one-way. Like I said, I enjoy this special time with Nate.

He has a smart phone. And he text messages. And he takes phone calls. He is usually polite about doing this when we’re together. While he did apologize, his interaction with that phone interrupted lunch and conversation. I finally asked him if he could post Out To Lunch on the damn thing!

I have watched people exiting the movie theater or a ball game, looking like extras from Night Of The Living Dead. Crowds glued to their phone screen, walking unaware of their surroundings, disconnected with the people they’re with, apparently unable to embrace the moment that envelops them. Is there anything that important? It seems me – possibly an old fuddy-duddy – but, it seems to me like the ability to be instantly connected is robbing people of connection with the here and now. It’s an interesting dichotomy from a sociological point of view.

One day, as technology continues to catapult us forward, I will forced to get a smart phone. I may even take a photo of something simply because I love the color. However, I will be Out To Lunch when I’m with people, the real people, in my life. And next time I might pull the trump card with my kid and take his phone away when we’re having lunch. Can one do that if the son is married, 26 years old, head coach and director of Colorado School of Mines Aquatics? 🙂

Debby put on her red shoes..

Let’s Dance!

The genesis and evolution of this blog has been on my mind.

Some years ago I set up a page within the FleetFire Timbers website called What’s News. The page was designed to look like a newspaper. I’d add something now and then; adding content was a challenge because of the cumbersome design. It was my chiropractor, Jason Steinle (and great narrator of Ancient Treasure – The Remake), who introduced me to blogging and recommended WordPress. What’s News changed to a blog within the FFT website.

Around the same time Nate and Rick came home with an off-road vehicle, a Suzuki Samurai. After a photo shoot of the Trailer Queen, Nate went to Facebook and quickly shared the photos. Facebook wasn’t yet a household name. Show me that again! He did, but I didn’t really grasp the concept.

Time marched on. I began noticing ‘interactive’ websites, which I later learned ran with Web 2.0 technology. I joined Facebook with the intent of learning more and discovered my nieces, nephews and their children. Bonus! Listening to podcasts, particularly photography podcasts, I was introduced to Twitter before it, too, became a household word. With some of this newfound knowledge the website transitioned into a blogsite.

At first I wrote a lot on the blog, often waking up extra early with words pouring out of me. I took photos specifically for the blog. Somewhere along the way life and time created stumbling blocks. Or perhaps….writing blocks. In 2009 every extra minute was spent working on Ancient Treasure – The Remake, gearing up for the presentation at that year’s National Specialty. Was it then inspiration left me?? From my perspective – and I suspect from yours too – the blog became mundane.

No more! I am once again feeling inspired! I am ready to write about things from dogs to gas stations to photography to dogs to gardening to dogs to reading to dogs. And whatever else I feel like writing about. I won’t be writing every day, but I’ll write at least twice a week and include photos too. I am ready to make the blog better than ever, my own version of Artful Blogging.

David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” has been playing over and over again in my head this week. “Let’s dance put on your red shoes and dance the blues.” The blues. Ah, music that sings to my soul. Red is my favorite color. I had a dog named after this song. Champion Fleetfire Put On Your Red Shus. His call name was Bowie.

To kick off the blog’s renascence…

Tax Day

David Fitzsimmons has it right on!

The vote..

…passed by more than the required 2/3s. Over the last ten years two quotes of inspiration have been my companions.

The first by Ayn Rand, ““The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”

The second from a bookmark Samantha gave me years ago: