When fires roar through our lives leaving destruction in their wake, those of us who have walked through this type of loss are often asked how it was to deal with such an event.  I responded by writing this blog and I share it knowing we...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: As the world continues to be a chaotic place, we celebrate some heroes at home: the Wildland Firefighters. Salida resident and author Kristen Moeller lost her home in a wildfire in 2012. Her latest book Phoenix Rising: Stories of Remarkable Women Walking through Fire...

“Whether we are conscious of it or not, the ground is always shifting. Nothing lasts, including us. there are probably very few people who, at any given time, are consumed with the idea ‘I’m going to die,’ but there is plenty of evidence that this...

Where did the pink go? I sit and watch the sun begin to shine a rosy pink on the peaks around me. I anticipate the glow growing warmer and warmer then suddenly the light is gone. Where did it go? The light still exists but it is blocked by something at the moment, something just out of my view on the horizon. A cloud miles away obscuring the sun, perhaps. I crave to continue my worship of the pink glow but the minute the thing becomes the thing it is no longer that. I forget that magic is all around us. We crave big fiery demonstrations of magic where it’s unmistakable - and inconceivable that it could be anything else but proof of what we long for. How close are we willing to look? How quietly are we willing to listen? I look out because that’s where the view is but what if I look to the weeds sprouting up between the rocks? The pile of dirt my dogs dug up? The petals on the mountain flower?2010-06-28 (Big Purple Thistle) The pink begins to return in new places. To look out reminds me of expansiveness. To look closely reminds me of focus and of being in the moment.

This coming weekend, nine women will gather at my burned out property to explore what it means to be a writer, why they feel called, what they want to say to the world - and why they may never get their message from their hearts...

Ah, the nervous system. I am thankful for the systems that keep us alive – yet this morning, mine has worn me out a bit. All Western dwellers, and certainly us Coloradans are on high alert this fire season. As of yesterday, 7 fires were burning across the state including the horrific Black Forest fire near Colorado Springs. What seemed like a wet spring has turned into a dry summer with conditions perfect for fires starting and burning out of control. Three weeks ago we were evacuated from our Evergreen home due to the Blue Bell fire that burned up the road for us. Most likely we were never in danger, however this year the authorities will be extra cautious as the deaths by fire count last year was unacceptable. We appreciate the precautions and went through that evacuation relatively smoothly.#limegulchfire Yesterday, in the middle of a lovely day spent with my brother and nephew, an email popped up from my Kuehster Road neighbors about a fire way too close for comfort to that already fire ravaged area. I felt the shock hit my system and as I carried my computer in to show David, my words turned to mumbles, and then to deep sobs. Last weekend, we settled in to that property even further by putting up a precious yurt with the help of dear friends. Planning to spend more time there this summer, our compound includes our trailer “Flame”, a finished shipping container made into a workshop for David, and now the yurt on it’s lovely perch. The couple days we spent enjoying our new dwelling were the most precious since our fire last year. The ground cover is returning, young aspen groves are popping up, the wildflowers are going crazy. What was once burned out and stark is being taken over by budding life. Still uncertain about rebuilding there, the yurt is our way to spend more time and try it on.
To those affected by wildfires – those who have lost loved ones, animals and homes, or still wonder what you lost as you attempt to gather the fragments of information that are beginning to surface – our thoughts are with you. There are no words that are adequate. I am sorry. It sucks. It’s horrific. It’s confusing and overwhelming. It’s all of that and more.IMG_0070 We who lost homes in the horrible fire season last year are with you. We feel your pain. We know the anguish. We wince as we read the news, see the pictures and smell the smoke that drifts into our burned up hills. We understand. We were there – and now we are further down this life-altering path. We aren’t far enough along to have forgotten anything – and truthfully – none of us will ever forget. We will remember that day forever. We will remember the sounds, smells and how it felt. The chaotic moments of evacuation – or of not being able to return to collect anything – will be etched in our minds forever. We remember the terror, the bewilderment, the not knowing, then the knowing. We wish with all our hearts that you didn’t have to go through any of this.

“It’s a good day to die”, I say to my seatmate. Not my usual opening line but one I feel strongly about today. Tomorrow may be a different story, as normally, I am not a big fan of dying. A sense of peace and clarity...

Twenty-three years ago today, I said ‘yes’ to a life of recovery and ‘no’ to the addictive mess of a life I had been living. Twenty-three years ago, I had no idea my path would twist and turn in so many fascinating directions. Every year at this time, I reflect, yet this year I see my reflection in shards of broken glass. I can’t quite get a grasp on what I see. It changes from moment to moment and day to day. The deep anguish has passed, yet what remains is more confusing, less definite and in many ways, less comfortable. It’s a new stage of grief called “hiding” or “shut down” or “I don’t like who I have been being very much”… This stage lacks clarity, is full of doubts and questions and feels more tiring. In the early days after the fire, the pain was raw and ragged. Now, it has buried itself in my system. My new companion seems to be a knot in my chest and a very very very (did I mention very?) busy mind. My mind has always erred on the side of busyness but now the loops are endless as I try to figure things out –where will we live, what should I eat, and what is the meaning of life, after all.
On an island, far far away from any mountains that remind me of anything to do with the awful forest fires that consumed our state and turned my life upside down, I received an email from a kindred spirit. She wrote, “I stumbled upon your blog when I was researching PTSD and forest fires. I was looking for anything that would tell me I was somewhat normal in what I was experiencing.” She goes on to tell me she lost her home in the Waldo Canyon fire and thanked me for letting me know she wasn’t alone in her devastation. This many miles away, I was compelled to write and tell you - I needed to hear this. I send my words into the stratosphere and wonder whose hearts I might be reaching. I keep writing anyway as it is my therapy and expression. I risk writing the same things over and over and boring my readers. I risk my heart and soul as I bare both. I feel my feelings and question if I am “normal”. I still have some (not many, but some) people in my life who think I should be moving on by now and that the depth of my emotions are concerning. I internalize their judgment (and, yes I know, it is born out of love and concern) and judge myself. Not that I needed any more judgmental voices to model as I have plenty of my own. I should be... I shouldn’t be... should should should. Here I am in paradise and I shouldn’t shed a tear. Being in paradise I should always, every moment of every second, be grateful. I should realize that this too is my life and I should marvel at the wonder of it all. Always.