I could see and smell the smoke at work, a seventeen mile drive from where I live. There was a subtle haze on the horizon that smelled like the campfires I remember from my youth but I didn't give it much thought until I drove home and saw the tall billows rising up quite near where I live. The entire mountainside was shrouded in heavy smoke, gray and foul as it gusted eastward, but thick and white and red near the ground. The closer I drove the bigger it got until it took up my entire view, blocking out the sky and the mountains.
Duncan and I headed straight to the park and climbed Rebel Hill behind Columbine High School, a vantage that allows us to see all the Christmas lights in December and all the colors of the sunset over Johnson Reservoir on summer nights. Tonight, though, the view was remarkably different and terrifying. While the fire poses no threat to us there are homes in that area that have been evacuated and the smoke, billowing eastward on frighteningly strong winds, has filled my apartment and tainted everything I breath. From our vantage we watched it rise up and curl outward, fanning out over Littleton and Highlands Ranch, and when the wind turned in our direction I watched it sweep away my view of the grocery store where I shop not a mile away. It was when Duncan began to sneeze and duck his head low to the ground that we turned back home. There was no leisure to our walk as we hurried back across the fields and up the stairs to our sanctuary. And now, an hour later, sitting on my patio I have a clear view of the burn, the tallest plumes catching the last of the sun's rays while the base glows gold and red.
So I will close the windows and watch the night southwest of us burn and hope for the safety of others.