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Independent Voices

We always need to learn the same lessons again and again. Despite our technological superiority, nature is not something we control -we have to live with it. But it also reminds us that we live in a great valley with great people who pull together in times of crisis.

Although I am a Rifle resident, I was marooned in Glenwood Springs when the blaze closed I-70. We watched the flames exploding ever closer to our daughter’s home, and experienced their anxiety as the family made evacuation plans, which fortunately never had to be used.

The experience taught me that in the blink of an eye, a natural disaster can change landscapes and lives. Sometimes nature extorts a terrible price for the privilege of living amid our beautiful valleys and hills.



The one truth concerning Mother Nature is to expect the unexpected. We choose to live on the Western Slope where fires, floods and I-70 sinkholes are all part of our lives. We have been warned by the Coal Seam Fire that we are vulnerable to disaster. People have made changes to protect themselves.

Beyond that, Ma Nature rules!



Of course, we can avoid all this by moving to a metro area, where fire danger is minimal. It’s difficult for a forest fire to get started on thousands of square miles of asphalt and concrete.

The fire reminded me of something I know, but don’t think about often enough. When it comes to setting priorities, my possessions aren’t really all that important. What matters are the people in my life and what I do with my life, not what I own (or don’t own).

My “stuff” could be replaced or done without. Possessions make my life comfortable, but all the material goods in the world can’t replace friends and family.

When my husband and I stood at the pedestrian bridge and saw the flames coming around the bend in the river, we discussed what important things to pack in case of evacuation as we walked home.

Although we weren’t evacuated, the experience taught me that if it came down to it, the most important thing of all was us and our dog. All the rest was just stuff.


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