All we have left are the Memories

I feel like I need to apologize to friends and family these days; sorry if my FB posts are clogging up your feed but this fire is consuming my life, invading my thoughts. If I’m not feeling miserable about the trees and the trails and the fact that half of the ruggedly beautiful San Gorgonio Wilderness was destroyed this past week in a torrential wildfire, than I’m thinking about the poor animals who died. In one of the community forums about the fire a member of our community said a few days ago

“The media is reporting no fatalities for this fire. That’s not exactly true when you consider all the deer, the bears, the chipmunks, the bobcats and the squirrels who perished when over 18,00 acres (At this moment in time) burned last week.”

The lake fire may not have burned any homes in the 18,000 acres it’s destroyed at this point but for the hikers, the hunters, the off-roaders who once enjoyed this outdoor paradise it’s desimated our once gorgous forest.

I’m a trail runner who has been terribly injured for the last six months. I have not run in six months and who knows if I will ever run again. It breaks my heart and it’s something I battle with every day.

It took me thirty years to get to a point in my life where I was athletic. Now I have to put that life on hold and try, really just try to take it easy. It’s killing me.

Although I’m not allowed to run, my doctors (All eight of them! Yea for the morons who run workers comp!) say I am allowed to walk my dog. That’s all the exercise I am allowed. It’s funny though, because the days I take my dogs out into the forest are the days I actually feel good. Sitting on the couch all day reading and watching 30 Rock marathons may be very enjoyable but a few hours in, my sciatic nerve is aching so bad.

The dogs and I have spent the last month traipsing through the lower elevation trails of the San Gorgonio Wilderness at least two days a week. This drive is thirty minutes from our home, so yes, it takes a little bit of a drive to get there but for the beautiful views, the tall hundred year old trees and the alpine meadows its worth it. 079

I feel blessed that I spent so many hours walking these trails with these happy mutts who just love frolicking in the cold alpine streams, because Friday this whole area burned to the ground.

All we have left are the memories.

It makes me think to just not take the time you have for granted. Some people hold on to material objects as the things they love. That’s not me at all. I would give a corvette, a Shelby Mustang or some True Religion Jeans just to have my forest back the way it was a week ago. These trails were my favorite “possessions” and yes, I will always have the memories of Tippy and Carly racing through the alpine meadows in the spring of 2015 but it will take twenty or thirty years for this forest to regrow to be anything near beautiful again.081



  1. Kandy

    You and I come from the same heart. I don’t have a blog, but I wrote this, sobbing through every word, the other night . . .

    This week, I lost a most dear friend. No matter the season, she always welcomed me with silent, open arms. If I needed to talk, she listened with no judgment. When tears flowed with no restraint, she gave me solace and dried them. Celebrations were given a dance floor of meadow grass and glorious bouquets of wildflowers. She offered me sweet drinks from the middle of her soul. We shared autumn’s last dance in the aspens, just before the first snows. Her tall trees sheltered me, her singing streams sang me lullabies. She gave me inspiring views, gladdening rainbows, winter white. When her skies turned dark, I dodged lightening bolts, and skipped in her cleansing rains. Cobalt blue skies warmed me through. She shared secrets with me, like watching a coyote romp, a deer graze, a bighorn leap and a momma bear guiding her cub. She taught me that the most moving symphony comes from the singular sound of a woodpecker or a stellars jay, or the chorus of tiny finches flitting amongst the bushes. She was never afraid to show her brute strength in the avalanche fields, yet would show her soft, flirty side with lupine and lemon lilies.

    Her death was violent and painful, succumbing to the ravages of a hellicious fire. Her beautiful trails are gray wastelands of ash, her trees darkened skeletons. They say that when we each cross that final bridge, that we are made whole again and our bodies restored. It is my hope, when it is my turn to cross that bridge, that you, San Gorgonio Wilderness, have been restored as well, and I can rejoice with you as the heaven I knew on earth.

    1. amber

      Wow, that is beyond beautiful ( and obviously so sad) I loved the part about the aspens; they were so great and I wish I had been there more than 4 or 5 times. Such a great piece, thank you so much for sharing. My fingers are just crossed that parts of those great trails survived this fire.

  2. Kristi Stone

    I’m so sorry that you and your animals lost your place to roam free, and also for the loss of animal life in the forest. I actually am looking out my window now at the smoke from that fire coming over the mountains that separate us and the San Gorgonio Wilderness.

    I don’t watch much TV so I didn’t know there was a fire, and I find it really interesting that you commented on my blog, I found the story about the fire, and found your post about it all on the same day. Nothing super significant about it, but just weird.

    Hope you and the forest both heal up very soon, and that you can get back to your communal time with the nature near you. ๐Ÿ™‚


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      Amber Woodyard

      Thanks for the lovely comment! Your blog looks very interesting! I can’t wait until the day we can have chickens too! This fire is just crazyness. I wish everything was back to normal already! It is pretty crazy tat you researched the fire the same day I wrote about it and shared! Hope your farm is far enough away from the foothills not to be affected!

      1. Kristi Stone

        I can understand your feelings, for sure. I know that feeling all too well, but for different reasons, and it’s all you can do just to wish time away so you can be at the end of the trial already. Hugs to you.

        Yeah, that is weird, isn’t it? I think we are maybe a bit less than an hour away from the fire, so we’re ok. It’s not even over the hill, any smoke we see is coming from behind it.

        Thank you for the kind comment about my blog. You’ll love having chickens. They are funny and weird, and fresh eggs are the best eggs you’ve ever tasted. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Brooke

    Gosh, I’m so sorry for your physical pain, and now the added emotion of losing a place so dear to your heart. I live in CO and we had some major fires in the last couple years (not this one). My in-laws were evacuated and thankfully didn’t lose their home. You’re so right about all the animals–rarely do people think of that loss. I hope you’re healed and back to normal sooner than later. Nature is amazing and regrowth is such a powerful symbol. Best ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Diane @ To Dog With Love

    I’m so sorry to hear about the loss from this fire. Your photos from area are so pretty, so sad to think about what fire has done to destroy it ๐Ÿ™ Thanks so much for sharing this with us on our little blog hop. One positive thing from your post… I’m so glad you’re finding the joy your dogs can bring you from the activity you are allowed to do. There are lots of studies out there that talk about the health benefits we enjoy from having our pups — including reducing stress, blood pressure and a motivator to get out and do whatever exercise you can do…. and more. Hope you continue to find ways to get out with the pups.

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