October 2, 2010

What The Buddha Saw: Rebuilding Boulder’s Fourmile Canyon.

We trade in our ash covered masks for fresh ones and continue to look through the debris.

Howard Wishner’s Fred Road home was destroyed by the Labor Day Fourmile Fire. The grass fire, moving along the ground, totalled some areas and spared others. Howard’s house is gone; burned to the ground. The destruction first hand, without the media’s filters, is truly frightening.

The American Red Cross and neighbors pull in to check on our progress. We trade in our ash covered masks for fresh ones and continue to look through the debris.

We spent a few hours looking through the rubble of Howard’s house. His three story home was reduced to a pile of debris. We salvaged a Buddha, a sculpture of an egret and some other objects. A few ceramics and metal pieces remained identifiable, but burned.

There will certainly be many lessons from this fire. When was the last time we photographed all of our possessions? And after we take stock of our possessions, we will likely focus on our friends, travel, and experience. Possessions are quickly reduced to nothing, but my friend has amazing memories of what he built and how he entertained from his house on the mountain with fifty mile views. Nature will return to inhabit the canyon—and so will he.

We pause at the sound of helicopters, but these are Excel Energy, not fire fighters. Overhead the helicopters lower new electrical polls and the Excel crews pull new wires to restore power.

Today the residents are getting together to remove their debris. They will cleanup as a neighborhood-separate concrete, metal, and hazardous materials, and then prepare to rebuild their lives and homes.

The residents are wanting to return to the mountains and are looking at ways to rebuild. Howard wishes to rebuild to restore the beauty and serenity of his land, knowing that nature will come back. By supporting the rebuilding in the canyon, Howard and other residents will also help restore nature to its state before the fire. The birds, foxes, and bears will once again inhabit this neighborhood—and so will he.

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