“Those are called Fireweed…because they’re the first to bloom after a fire”
It’s a chilling reminder of the power of nature. In the past couple years, in the tiny mountain town of Glen Haven Colorado, they’ve seen several fires and devastating floods. My mom and her husband Bob have actually rescued many people from said situations during their on-call position as volunteer firefighters. In fact last September, when the worst flood of them all hit the base of the Rocky Mountains, they lived without power for 3 months and remained in their house to continue to honor their jobs as rescue workers. Folks always ask me if I get anxiety over the fact that my mom is running into forest fires or hiking over mountains in the frigid cold. After all the woman is in her early 50s (she will scoff that I just revealed that), and weighing in at 95lbs on a five-foot-two frame. But I tell them, she’s a survivor. A hero. My hero.
I try to make it up to CO for a visit a couple times a year. This will mark the first time I’ve traveled here since before the floods.
To the unknowing visitor the town seems like a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kinda place since half of the houses that once lined the canyon have—sadly—been replaced with a rocky embankment, flanked by the North Fork River. The road crews have cleared most of the rubble, laid new dirt roads and put up concrete barriers to keep tourists on the curvy path towards Rocky Mountain Natl’ Park.
As I watched the rock, fallen trees, and asphalt trucks from the backseat window I tried not to focus on the devastation—nor the sadness of it all—but the survival of life. Its proof that we (those of us who adapt, replant, clean up or persevere over tragedy) can still manage to move on with our lives. Granted, we can still dwell on the disappointments and allow contention to hold us against our will; but why? Even on an average day with no real tragedy beside traffic, spilled coffee, or a flat tire once we’re out of the moment we continue to breathe normally; life goes on.
I thought about how much I truly respected the ability of life to regrow on a mountainside; without anyone’s permission or blessings the Fireweed are back, again. After being plowed over, demolished, or burned out of its respective home, life will always reemerge. Beautiful, wild, colorful….grateful for life.