June 29, Friday, 8:53 p.m.

Sunset after dinner last night at John and Ellie’s. A God-sky with smoke small in the distance.

With corn chips con queso, a Manhattan at last on the patio, and my little grayling hoodie, it’s a cool 62, a lovely evening with a three-quarter moon. It’s been another long hot day, busy from sunup til now, one thing after another. Pent up Stellar is running around with my shoe in his mouth. He’s been wearing that cone another four hours. Nighthawks calling above in their hunt for insect prey. I’ve just come from Francisco yoga.

From the driveway looking north to Grand Mesa, smoke from the Pine Ridge fire blooms below storm clouds. The fire grew from 700 to 10,000 acres in two days.

Smoke stretches across the northern horizon the length of Grand Mesa from a third of the way down, where beyond the mesa, Grand Junction, the interstate, lies DeBeque, the Piceance Basin. I ask for peace and safety for this valley because we so recently faced such a threat. Our distress was palpable; anywhere you went it was the topic of conversation. The oil and gas industry had set their sights on our front yards, back yards, vistas and watersheds, our schools, our homes, our livelihoods, our valleys. We rallied together, across the spectra, political, cultural, geographical. Our collective hackles raised up, we had a falling out with the BLM. For the time being, they’ve seen our point of view, and backed off. A FOIA lawsuit may soon or one day reveal the names of the scoundrels who placed our lives at risk. This is not unduly alarmist. The potential for utter destruction as sure as any flood or fire exists in this manmade catastrophe, oil and gas extraction. Tonight in the Piceance basin, a wildfire; tomorrow, perhaps, an inferno. That rugged terrain is full of gas wells. What happens if one goes up in the growing blaze? A closer walk with thee.

I just want us all to have our moment, our sweet relief, our “one last summer.” Worst case scenario with the Industry, we had one last summer; nothing would have happened til next year at the soonest. Over fire, though, we have no control. May we have this one summer, to love our land, our home, our lives, the way they are, the way we’ve chosen. Let us celebrate every living moment of this summer, with fruits and vegetables, skinny dips in cold ponds, hammocks, novels, cookouts, family, children, friends, walks with dogs. Let us breathe freely this one summer. Let us rally, each of us, our individual strength, from this blessed respite.

It comes down, essentially, to compassion or greed.

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