Every summer of my childhood, my family would pack up and retreat to "The Cabin." The Cabin belonged to my grandparents, it was years in the making. It began as a small space and expanded as the years passed and the families grew. Once a year all of the family, aunts, uncles, cousins -we'd gather for a full week of R&R among the pines. This annual family reunion represents a bulk of my best childhood memories. Nights around the campfire, mornings with no one but my dad and my grandpa -cooking bacon and sausage, preparing breakfast for all the other people who weren't quite the morning people we were. The creek. The zip line. The meadow we liked to play baseball in. Shooting guns. The hours and hours playing with the cousins.
One summer, about a decade ago now, someone started a forest fire -and the place that had so much of my childhood, went up in flames. Years of memories nothing but ashes in a matter of minutes.
I was working the counter at Crows Nest that summer, and I remember the day my mom called me to tell me that The Cabin was gone. It felt like someone had died.
I managed to get up to the place our cabin had been a couple months post fire. Ironically my dad and brothers decided to take an unplanned, spur of the moment trip up there a couple weeks before it burned and even more strangely, they took a camera with them and used it. I held the pictures in my hand and walked though what looked like the moon. White/gray powder coated everything.
Tonight I'm sitting in my living room, watching the reports of a wildfire that is eating up the landscape not very far from here. My heart tonight is going out to the people who have had to pack all their most precious possessions into their cars today and turn and drive away -hoping that their homes are still there when the fire fighters have this thing under control and out. Tonight my prayers are for them.