Monday, June 18, 2012
This week, lightning struck my family's cabin in the Colorado mountains. It was built 50 years ago by my grandfather and uncle on land with the most amazing view of snow-topped peaks. The firefighters got there amazingly quickly considering the difficulty of access (steep inclines at high elevation, narrow dirt roads), and they did a wonderful job of keeping the fire from spreading very far. No one was there at the time, and the neighbor's homes were unscathed. But our cabin was a total loss.
Some of my very best childhood memories occurred in and around that cabin. My cousin, sister and I would go up there with my grandmother on weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day (the weather could be prohibitive the rest of the year). We would hike, pick wild raspberries, scamper up rocks like mountain goats, invent silly songs, roast marshmallows, eat scrambled eggs with ketchup on them, and hand feed the chipmunks and Clark's nutcrackers (birds).
When I was older, I would go to a huge rock formation on our land, gaze in awe at distant peaks, laugh at the hummingbirds whizzing by my head, and write poetry. There were a couple of years that bald eagles nested nearby. I think I only took Dan up there one time before I got too sick to hike anymore.
The stone fireplace still stands. But I don't think we'll be able to rebuild; none of us has the kind of money it would take to start over. I hope like hell we don't have to sell the land even though that might prove to be the most practical solution.
What I wouldn't give to return to the rock where I wrote poetry, while it's still ours.
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