She Ran Calling Wildfire


This morning, after I was unable to talk to my parents and went to see what was going on with the fire burning near their home, I stepped out of my house to a car covered in ash. It looked like the inside of a fireplace. For a minute, I felt annoyed. I do not bother with cleaning my car, but even still, I dislike extra dirt that I won’t clean. Then I started thinking about it. The fire is burning where I learned to climb trees with my fearless uncle, learned to shoot with my big brother, and learned the best way to pull off leeches without bleeding. Many of my favorite memories are in that place, tucked between trees, in the abandoned structures I made stories about.
I don’t know exactly where the fire is. The land in that area is a tangle of state and private land. I don’t know if it is burning the places I explored as a kid or if it is threatening the houses of my friends who live there or even my parents’ house. All I know is that another chunk of New Mexico is ashes. The proof is on my car. It is sticking to my arms, and it looks strange next to the freckles there. There is a strange sense of hopelessness in wondering if I ever touched the tree that burns now. It is a reminder that I am small in the face of the tremendous forces of nature.
As I write today, the barista in the coffee shop is chattering about how pretty the sunrise is here because of the fire. It was lovely. It looked like the inside of a pumpkin, but all that beauty was at the hands of something brutal and untamed. We like to think we are in control of this planet, but I really don’t think so. Fire is a vivid reminder of the beauty and inconsistency of nature that we deny with our metal siding and shatter-proof glass.

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About charliegreenberry

I grew up in the wilds of New Mexico in a strange combination of free and restricted. Now, as I stumble unwillingly into adulthood, I find memories resurfacing. So I dust them off, sand them, slap on a coat of paint and display them with the hopes that at some point they'll make sense and pull the room together. The blog is a space for writing, for sharing, someday sharing without worrying about who is reading it, and a place to practice. Virginia Woolf said, "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." Well, here's to having a room at least.
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