Thursday, June 28, 2012

El Fuego

My most distinctive memory in college was the night the dorm caught on fire. It was around 10pm and the alarm went off for probably the sixth time that week. I groaned, slipped on my leopard-print slippers (because I was very hip), looked at my cell phone, and called security from my dorm phone.

"The fire alarm is going off in Slocum"


So commonplace was this interaction that they didn't ask any questions and I didn't have to say anymore. I locked my room and started down the stairs.

My residents from the previous year were yelling as loudly as they could that this was a real fire. On the fourth floor. And these weren't the kinds of f*ckers who would joke around about a thing like this.

I turned around and ran up the stairs. The fourth floor was empty, but smoke billowed out of the top of one door and water poured out of the bottom. My fellow RA was at the other end of the hall, and we both ran towards the fire.


This week I ran from fire. The Waldo Canyon Fire started on Saturday about five miles west of my home. People laughed at me for packing my suitcases and gathering my papers, but Tuesday evening a change in the wind brought the fire down the mountain and 1/3 of a mile from my back porch. I watched a normal Colorado wildfire become a monster that poured like lava down the hillside in thirty minutes. In five minutes the ash cloud surrounded my house, and I grabbed my packed bags, my birds, and left.

What has changed in me that once I ran towards the fire, and now I run from it?

I've been asking myself that very question.

Sitting in a friend's home with a complex wardrobe of three pairs of yoga clothes, one swim suit and one wedding dress I contemplated my reaction.

I don't have an answer yet.


  1. “All things, oh priests, are on fire . . . The eye is on fire; forms are on fire; eye-consciousness is on fire; impressions received by the eye are on fire.”


    I'm so glad to hear that your house was spared. Is there anything you or your neighbors need?

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