Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bleak Destruction and Magnificent Beauty

I guess I should update you on our local fire.  It is now 100% contained and they are allowing most evacuees back up the mountain.  Unfortunately, 37 residences were destroyed, along with many outbuildings.  All human life was preserved but an unknown number of animals lost their lives as more than 15,000 acres burned.  I have not heard an official announcement but the word around town is that this was arson caused.

We all know that forest fires are scary and dangerous but also that they do some good... eventually.    Fires clear out debris that accumulates on the forest floor.  In time, new and more vibrant growth will erupt.  It will again be lovely.  Unfortunately, that takes a lot of time.

On Saturday Mike & I went to a wedding in Colorado.  Our friends getting married are both youth directors and have spent a lot of time at church camps.  Their wedding was held at one of those camps.  I was looking forward to a beautiful drive!

We drove many miles through the Poudre River Canyon not far from Fort Collins, Colorado.  Earlier this summer that area had also experienced a forest fire.  I remember hearing about it but I had NO IDEA of the level of destruction we were to see.  That fire burned more than 87,000 acres.  Because it is along a river flowing through a canyon, it was sort of a long, skinny fire.  The burn went on for miles and miles and miles.  The river, even now, has black sludge all along its banks.  I read that 259 homes were burned in that fire.

I admit, I did not take all that many photos of the fire area.  I had trouble seeing the beauty of it.

Finally, though, after an hour and a half drive, we got to the church camp.  There, beauty surrounded us!  

Is that not beautiful?  Can you see that little bit of last year's snow still up at the top of the mountain?  Although signs of Fall were everywhere, that day was hot.  The wedding was held at a beautiful outdoor chapel with mountains in the background.  It could not have been more lovely.  

I took this last photo on our way back down the mountain, just before we again approached the big burn area.  The photo doesn't quite give you the take-your-breath-away feeling but you get the idea.  Don't you just love the beauty of the mountains?

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