We were so fortunate. We were spared from the Bobcat fire. Not everyone was.
In the aftermath of the fire, things were different. There was not a complete sense of relief, because the landscape to our north and west remains unburned and full of fuel, and because the property itself is full of fuel.
There were other immediate changes. Like the presence of predator/scavengers in numbers. Firefighters were stationed here in Chilao, and the dumpsters full of trash attracted bears and coyotes. Our absence for a month changed the balance of territory. Ours became theirs again, not only in the darkness of night but throughout the day. Not that there are fences, or hard boundaries...there aren't. But there had been a sense of order and a protocol of avoidance. The fire and the presence of so much potential food in those big dumpsters...the balance of everything changed.
And there was what burned. The Bobcat fire burned into the eleven year old footprint of the Station fire and consumed much of the best new tree growth that the forest had seen. It also made its way into the high country. It ran unchecked and swift across rugged terrain, reaching down into the desert, wreaking havoc among the remaining piñon stands, leveling the Devil's Punchbowl Visitor's Center, burning through stands of trees whose chance of recovery and regrowth in this new, hot climate is quite slim.
November came with an unprecedented Thanksgiving wind storm that destroyed arenas, demolished fencing, and tore supports out from under buildings. Once again, no one two legged or four legged was injured...but the damage was severe. Grace would take whatever fencing remained usable and, hauling sand from a nearby creek to recreate arena footing, make the best of whatever suitable land she could find. Constant change seemed to be the new normal, and starting over a more or less daily response.
Over time, there were also new horses...and of course, that always makes life feel fresh again.