While memoirs are written from one person’s perspective, the lives of families and friends naturally become part of the telling. All those affected by the East Peak Fire share the story I tell in Burn Scars: A Memoir of the Land and Its Loss. I am heartened, energized and, yes, relieved, that those whose lives I put into the book have responded with pleasure, thanks, and encouragement. Many readers have asked to see the family and friends who shared my story. So this is for you.
First, there’s Ed. The shot of him below is from 2012, when we hiked the West Spanish Peak, “our” mountain’s twin sister, the westernmost breast of the earth. (The prologue to the book explains that.)
The group shot of Gwyn, Ed, me, and Joe is from 2006.It shows the forest before it burned. I had just finished chemo for breast cancer, so the funky hat hides my bald head.
Dave, who warned us of the fire and gave us time to get out just before the flames came swooping down our ridge, took this wonderful selfie in front of the pond by his house. The East Peak and the top of the West Peak are in the background. Dave grew up in the house where he now lives, which his dad built. His mom, Ruth, lived there until her death in 2010.
Harlan and Pat stand in front of their berm house, with the peak in the background. They both grew up in Colorado, ran a successful business in Kansas, then moved here. Harlan is the man in charge of most things. First, he is the one who told firefighters our little settlement was up the road and, therefore, helped save it. He also arranged for us to have garbage pickup in normal, no-fire years, and has done seriously important work on our road.
The shot of me and Joe and our kids is one of my favorites. It was taken just after we had the boulder moved to the front of the cabin and before the three adorables entered our lives—Ellen’s husband Steve and their two sons.
The year after the fire, our grandsons visited and fished for tuna in our creek. Sadly, they were unsuccessful. Cute as the dickens, but no tuna.
And, finally, Ross, who was a regular companion on our walks, but who died before the book came out. Here’s he’s napping next to Ed and Gwyn’s guest cottage.