Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.  Walt Whitman
At some point I will write about the metaphor of fire. I will write about the transformation that occurred and is occurring. I will write about who I became in the process and the multitude of gifts that enhanced my character.  It is still too early for that. 
Of course I can see the gifts of having community.  Yesterday we wrapped up a second full (and productive) day of site clean up. We were again supported by a crew full of friends as well as those I had never met.  All performing great acts of service as they sifted through ash and rubble, avoided stepping on the various hazards – nails, sharp edges of metal, piles of glass…  Quite a few times during the day, I imagined doing this alone – and stopped dead in my tracks.  No way.  Our community is carrying us.  That is for sure. 
This morning begins the second clean up with another crew of angels.  Today, I also am running a virtual writing day with my author clients.  I will lead a conference call at 9am, then head out to the site.  Today, I won’t write with them.  They understand. 
Last night, I attended a gathering of the Four Mile Canyon fire survivors.  They opened their meeting – and their arms - to us North Fork folks, welcoming us into the club that no one ever would choose to join.  Being so early in our process, I was the only North Forker to attend.  Fortunately, I brought my friend Jessica with me. 
They are a lovely, close-knit group of people who have grown and seasoned in ways they never wanted to over the past 19 months.  And, in a room full of 40 people, only a few have re-built.  A couple others bought somewhere else, but the majority is still on the long journey back to “home”.  They are dealing with insurance issues, a flood over their ravaged land that threatened to wash away all the soil and a myriad of other delays.  One shared with me about his PTSD, his ongoing fear and how he still hasn’t returned to a feeling of “normal”.  It was enlightening, sobering and at times too much for me to process.  I would give Jessica a signal, and we would take a breather outside under the cool Boulder sky. 
I miss my morning routine where David and I brewed our French press coffee (for which we were famous among our friends), and sipped the brew in our hearty mugs as I sat in my leopard chaise by the window, and David sat on (our brand new!) couch with Bill purring on his lap. We watched the world come alive from our vista and did our morning “meditation” (which for us was reading Gangaji).
Recently I have been waking up before the sun, which is not my usual M.O. A friend asked if I was meditating, I said “Yeah right!” (actually I said something like “F-off” because she is the type of friend to whom I can say anything...isn't that right, Kristina Hall) Right now, I do not want to be with the quiet. My brain, which throughout my life has not always been my friend, wakes me and tells me there are things to do, things to figure out, and things to think about. There certainly are lists of things we need to write. Much of the key to how our insurance experience goes depends upon lists of excruciating detail. We must remember every little and large (and everything in between) thing we had. We must document all of it with a description, price and date of purchase. We are talking about things collected over a lifetime – some priceless due to the sentimental value, some difficult to price due to the eclecticism, some we will probably forget and remember in the middle of the night or some other inopportune moment months or years after our claim has been filed. The pressure of “getting it right” wakes me up early, yet the list is the one thing I resist the most.
Day 2.Sleep was difficult.I curled up with my puppy (and when I say “puppy”, I mean 90 pound dog…).Tossing and turning all night, then drifting to sleep but waking every time my dog twitched, I finally gave up the thought of sleep sometime before 5am.Fortunately, fresh coffee was already brewing, as Jessica’s husband Steve is an early riser.Turning the computer on, I began searching for updates.Finally at 6:48am, I found this post:

From the briefing this am:

Fire size between 3050 and 3500 acres

15-25 homes lost

1 fatality (Unknown if this was fire related or not)

Forecast for day is for 30-40 MPH gusts

expecting 450 FF on the line by the end of the day

2 tankers one guide plan and 1 helo on order

A type 1 incident team en-route

0% containment

I began spreading the word.Texts, calls and emails start pouring in.“How are you?”“Do you know anything?”“We love you.”“Our prayers are with you.”… I am attempting to keep up with the kindness and love being expressed.I am not sure what to do; it feels like more wandering from room to room.David and I keep checking in.It seems best that he stay put in Seattle for now as he has a full day of work.I keep thinking about the enormous, billowing, black cloud – yet picture it moving in a different direction, turning away from our oasis.I pray for my neighbors.I pray for my home.
We shape our dwellings, and afterwards our dwellings shape us - Winston Churchill
On the morning of Monday March 26th, I enjoyed the early morning quiet as I began what was to be a very busy day. I was squeezing in 12 separate conference calls so I could take the rest of the week off for my trip to California, first to speak at Inside Edge and then to join my colleagues at Rejuvenate Training to begin my spring marketing launch for my business.
How it looked at 2pm
As usual, I sat drinking my coffee on my favorite leopard chaise by the window, one 90-pound dog curled up at my side, the other at my feet. I gazed at the view, which even after 9 years, I never took for, granted. Ahhhhh. Life in our dream house, our little paradise of a retreat on the side of a mountain. How lucky we were.