Today was the first day since the Brins Fire started in Oak Creek Canyon that I did not see smoke in the sky when I went out to let the sheep out of the barn this morning. Every morning this week has seen a column of thick grey and black smoke toward the southwest. The local news is filled with pictures of dry forests literally exploding in fireballs in terrain that you would think only a Mountain Goat could climb.
It's unnerving that it was just three weeks ago, we and our family from New Zealand were on that very road. Oak Creek Canyon is truly a gem in Arizona and a lush green spot when one grows tired of just Ponderosa pines or the white snows of winter.
Now we're playing the waiting game. Waiting to see if the fire crosses the only road through the canyon. Waiting to hear that people and pets have all evacuated that area. Waiting to see if any homes will be lost. Waiting to see if conditions change and we must evacuate our own home. Waiting.
We've certianly found out whom our true friends are as we've had many calls to see if we're OK, if we need any help, or to tell us we are welcome - sheep, cats and all - to find refuge at other's homes. Just the fact these people have called is calming. I have to explain that both myself and my DH were Army-trained to handle challanges and stresses like this and we are not only fine, but have things staged and ready to go should the need arise. It's almost like the old fire-horses hearing an alarm bell. It becomes second nature.
And when friends worry because we're in an area that can have such devastating forest fires and why don't we move, I respond with "Where to?" Each area of our country has it's own dangers: hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, flooding - the list goes on.
But I have faith that we are where we are supposed to be. And we'll deal with whatever comes our way.....as long as we can take the cats, the sheep, the chickens and maybe, just maybe..each other.