Every day more of my crewmembers are leaving, going to fight fires in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado. They stuff sleeping bags and extra clothes in their packs, turn off their computers, leave projects half finished. Part of me wishes I were going with them. But someone needs to stay: there are classes to teach and meetings to attend.
But I also get this:
Two fishermen stroll down the trail. "Lake's froze," one of them says. "Really?" I say enthusiastically. "It's still real pretty," he says, perking up. I continue on. The trail turns to snow and ends at the lake, silent and white. I sit on a sun-warmed log and look for mountain goats on the cliffs.
There's something about an ice-covered lake in the sunshine, and snow in the summertime. Maybe it's the unexpectedness of it, this unlikely juxtaposition of two seasons. The alpine country holds on to winter longer than the valley does; it's supposed to snow today in the high passes. Meanwhile to the south people are evacuating, losing their homes to walls of flame.
I'll go to the fires later, following our type 1 helicopter around from state to state. For now, I'm not in a hurry. I'd rather be here, on the shores of a hidden lake, at the corner where summer and winter meet.