It probably started out as a flash of lightning that struck a tree. Within hours, it has spread to other trees. And before we knew it, it was a raging forest fire. When I went to the gym, the athletic ones were lined up at the window, watching the powerful plumes of smoke rising above the mountaintop.
It wasn’t the only fire in New Mexico, but it was the latest one in a string of conflagrations that dotted the state’s landscape. And then the fires started in nearby Colorado: vicious, insistent, driving people from their homes, swallowing up houses.
Two summers ago, when smoke infiltrated my abode, I threw some belongings in a suitcase and left Dodge. This time it wasn’t so easy and my reaction wasn’t immediate. My husband and I felt like shut-ins, and when we went out for walks, we wore masks. His allergies had recently escalated and inflamed his lungs, and mine were well on the way. We were a wheezing duo.
Damn, I thought. Damn. I was feeling scared and out of sorts. I hated the idea of not feeling safe at home.
It was about 8 o’clock at night a few days ago. The wind suddenly changed course, and the air wasn’t smoky for a while.