My Town and My Heart are Aflame- Recollections from the Colorado Marshall Fire

I live in Colorado. I have a home in Boulder which was about 3 miles away from the Marshall fire and another home in southern Colorado in the remote spiritual mountain town called Crestone. I never dreamed it would be my home in the city of Boulder that might be in danger but we were right on the borderline of having to do pre-evacuations. When my family and I got back to Boulder from Crestone, driving around the Boulder to avoid the smoke, we had to prepare a list of what we would bring with us if we have to do an immediate evacuation.

view of fire from my house
view of fire from he driveway of my house

We prepared a few backpacks of essential items and emergency supplies. You could see the plumes of smoke and fire aglow from the end of our driveway. It looked like the fires of Mordor or the living apocalypse of the film that I just saw the night before, called Don’t Look Up, which many of you may have seen by now. We were safe but I had to go to sleep, after hearing emergency sirens and visible flames from my bedroom window. We had  hopes that the winds would die down and we would not get a knock at the door or reverse 911 call telling us we had 10 minutes to leave.

Admittedly and understandably, I was shaking, so I took some Chinese calming herbs called [Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan] or Plum Flower Emperor’s Teapills that helps to calm disturbed Shen presenting as chronic insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, and heart palpitations that are accompanied by inner heat. I guess emperors have to take on the stress of running a kingdom and bouts of war. This is an old remedy that calms and stabilizes the nervous system, so even an emperor can get their much-needed rest. I was thankfully, able to sleep soundly to prepare for the next day.  In the morning, we woke to a welcome light snowfall and homes still smoldering.  We lost close to a thousand homes and businesses and some of my close friends are right now displaced, staying with other friends. People we know have had their homes burned down and a close family friend of my daughter, a single mom, was burned in the fire in a high wind gust, trying to help an elderly person evacuate and is in the ICU recovering.

Vows to Help Our World

I couldn’t write about this earlier because I was in shock. All I can really say, is that for 2022…

I resolve to take bold action this year to stop climate change, and work to ensure that climate denying politicians do not get re-elected.

I’ve heard it predicted by some of my Buddhist sages, that in the future, all life on earth would be in danger and those who’ve taken vows to be helpers to benefit the world must go to the frontline and put themselves in harms way. We must go to the lair of the metaphorical dragon itself where the powers to make change and decisions can be influenced. If my Buddhist friends have really vowed “to help the world” and we regard ourselves some special altruistic people-  we then are compelled work with the greatest defilements first, and focus all attention on stopping these global damaging powers and working toward healing our earth. We must distill our priorities now and can no longer focus on any distractions: shredras, retreats, endless bloviating dharma dialogs. We must be rather be talking about how to help with climate change and stopping the momentum of these impending fascist regimes. One Bhutanese Buddhist teacher who I find particularly controversial and at times outright vulgar and supports Trump, even mocked and insulted Greta Thunberg and our climate change concerns. We must do better and indeed, find much better and sound leaders.

Don’t Look Up or… Out

It can no longer be too “worldly” too unseemly, too low-brow get involved with politics and help the earth, and it is now, an urgent yet long term, full time complex issue. At the end of that climate change apocalypse, parody film DON’T LOOK UP, you see a Tibetan or Mongolian shaman dressed up and beating a “warding off evil” drum and chanting to try to mitigate the end of days. We must wake up now and stop all time wasting nonsense and must put our heads together and focus laser one pointedly on benevolent social change and stopping these climate disasters. If we don’t, we’re going to lose the one place where we can have the good fortune to meditate, learn, grow, develop ourselves and evolve spiritually, not to say losing all other species that have every right here to experience the magic of our living world. They have an inherent right to life here that is not damaged by human greed and influence. We have to make sure that the ground is healthy, stable and sound first before we can plant or create anything and our foundation is indeed cracking. To escape into some existential retreat or some ignoring opiate of one’s religion, is of no benefit to anyone. It is time to act, all of us.

Self Care to Action

Durga is a major deity in Hinduism. She is worshipped as a principal aspect of the mother goddess Devi and is one of the most popular and widely revered among Indian divinities. She is associated with protection, strength, motherhood, destruction and wars.

For me, it’s important to spend time with self-care now: eating well, exercise, meditation, yoga- trying to fortify a sense of inner strength to get through this dark time to then take action. May we all be strong now~

All my love, Dawn

Photo: from Nextdoor, Boulder.

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