Fire is probably a bad word to use these days, especially since a lightning strike in September immolated one long, gorgeous stack of premium mountain meadow grass hay in the ranch stack yard. All 340 tons of it. We were away when that happened, somewhere in Iran is about as precise as I can be. I was sitting with my headscarf on, trying to pretend I was comfortable in the autumn heat wearing a head covering more suitable to the winter months, when the news arrived by email.
Apart from the upset of imagining flames rising from the 50-yard long stack, and thinking of the sparks that would result, possibly igniting sub-fires in the area, including (worst nightmare) flying over to our century-old barn and turning that into a torch, I wasn’t too disturbed. After all, I live in an area where people know how to deal with haystack fires. They happen nearly every summer. That’s partly because all the ranches in Jackson County have haystacks on flat meadows, which are as natural an attractant for lightning as beer is for a frat boy. It’s also because we have such fierce electrical storms up here. My nephew Adin loves visiting because, as a pilot, he gets a big charge out of being so close to the weather. Personally, I prefer “charge” as in something I do with my credit card, rather than something I feel from the electricity deposited near the metal-shod hoofs of my horse and now making my hair stand on end. And I have very long hair.
So, my mind at ease knowing our superb Jackson County Fire Dept. was on the job, and that our wonderful friends and neighbors would keep a vigilant eye on the fire (if for no other reason than they’d want to be sure it didn’t spread to their place), I settled in to wishing I had a marshmallow or bratwurst, or two, that I could roast in the heat as that wonderful hay smoldered down to ash. And now that the first major snowstorm of the year has hit and another’s due to arrive shortly, I’m thinking about lighting a few logs in the fireplace here at the house. It’s good to be home, building fires where they should be.