At the end of my previous post on Monday morning of this week, I shared that we were in for another day of high winds and high fire danger.
Little did we know… that it would be a day of devastating wildfires across several areas of the Panhandle, a couple of hours north of my area.
I think we often take for granted all the weather and fire warnings this time of year, especially those of us that live closer to a city or town. But this year, the devastation and loss of life has really touched so many of us. This is our home, and these are our people and animals that have been lost.
One person that died was known to a good friend of mine. Perhaps that brought the reality home even more this time. My friend and her husband grew up in the area where one of the large fires hit especially hard and the loss of lives occurred. Four good people died, three trying to save cattle and another that got caught on a country road in his car when the fire overtook him. He just learned last week that his wife was expecting their first child.
My heart hurts so much for the families left behind.
We woke up on Tuesday morning to a strong smell of smoke in our house, as the smoke from the fires had been pushed south by a cold front overnight. Over 31 years, we’ve never had such smoke inside the house, as the heating system brought it in overnight while we slept. We immediately turned off the heat the next morning and just used a couple of space heaters until things warmed up. The smoke persisted all day and into the evening, but for us, it was just a bit of an annoyance.
What we experienced was absolutely nothing compared to what folks had to endure further north. The photos of the fires are just unbelievable. Even the author of the Hank the Cowdog books, John Erickson, lost pretty much everything, including his ranch house and all his cattle, not far from Perryton.
There are days when I think my problems are just so awful, and then there are other days when I realize that I don’t have any problems. At. All. This is such a day.
My fellow Texans to the north have problems. Big ones. I just cannot fathom it.
I’m on the search for some way to help by donating or actually traveling to one of the affected areas to help serve as I might be able to do so. I hope I can find a way to help these people that have lost so much in a single day. I know I am certainly not the only person in my area that feels this way, too.
At times like this, I can hold my head high and be proud and grateful to live where I live and call these people my neighbors. We live in an often hard land, but the people that make it here for the long haul, especially the people that work close to the land, are especially resilient. I came from such people, original settlers on this land, and there is no one I admire more than a hard working cowboy or ranch hand.
I read a post on Facebook from such a cowboy right after the fires hit the news in our area. His words absolutely broke my heart and probably the hearts of thousands of others by now, too. I literally sat down and bawled my eyes out.
I don’t think I will be light-heartedly joking about the wind here for awhile, especially the “flaming tumbleweed” comment in my previous post. I want to just go back and delete that part now.
The beautiful people lost in the fires, three men and one woman. May God bless and keep their families.