Avery landed on earth mid-March. Parachuted in by a special team of stork/angels. The infant’s condition required a guardian angel as well. It took some fine medical assistance, and the protective cherub.
It would also require an infant’s heart telling her to hold on – to wait for help.
The cord that had twice wrapped around Avery’s neck was released. Breath returned. Avery’s color went from bluish-purple to bright baby pink. The birth canal ride had been rough, but Avery survived with only a mark above her left eye that soon faded.
Avery, my great-niece, is now in her fourth month. She’s unaware of the wildfires within her home state.
In the last few days, updates have continued charting the many devastating fires of Colorado. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes – vacate their special corners of the world.
Neighbors helping neighbors have tried to move one another’s livestock to safety. Small pets and belongs have been packed into vehicles. And a reverse call arrived, telling them it was time. Residents moved out, saying goodbye to the areas that would never be the same again in their lifetimes.
Maybe they glanced back to see ground squirrels scampering away, and a few birds with wings beating as they forged through the smoky airways. The hummingbird feeders, so lovingly filled, remained behind.
With a fire’s mass evacuation, there are often perilous escapes through blinding conditions. Gridlocked drivers searched out new shelter.
Walls of flame that climbed ridge after ridge will be reduced to embers and ash. Ferocious winds will rest. The horizon’s darkness will unclog, and blue will one day resume.
What can be saved, will be saved by heroic firefighters. The fire crew’s harrowing efforts to save homes, to rescue life, and to smother fires, are sagas of dedicated courage. I applaud them. And may they be blessed. There would be far more destruction without them.
Residents will mop-up. And many will rebuild. Their pain and fear will not be easily washed aside. Yet most will continue on as our forefathers have. Taming the lands, for we’re a tough breed.
The many who will return to see burnt out, scorched, and smoldering patches of land will remember. Their eyes once filled with wonder. For I believe there is a part of us that can actually fall in love with place. It is not only where we live – but where our spirits claim and are claimed.
Many of the most wondrous places of Colorado are now scarred. Our nation, and indeed our world, mourns the loss of this grandeur. They have visited us.
Yesterday Avery’s Mom sent me a video of Avery. She entitled it Avery’s Morning. It showed a brief clip of baby Avery saying good morning with smiles and infant eye-beams twinkling. Her mouth contorted into babbling and cooing translatable baby-talk. She issued her own optimism of the day.
Undoubtedly, she’ll one day be told of Colorado’s summer of sorrow. Her first summer. Stories about when fires lifted, and rampaged through entire communities. Where an exodus included thousands.
Perhaps as years pass, she will visit mountainsides with partial growth reaching toward an azure sky. And her cooing will have converted to words. Words of amazement. This land is returning to Colorado’s unique splendor.
Just as Avery’s beginning was a struggle to live, our lovely lands will brawl their way back to beauty.
I’m partial to smiles. Our Colorado smiles will also return.