Fire Rider

24 nights you flew
in dreams of morning dew, and slept,
as the fires continued
to rage
and burn to ash…
as the entire mountain
continued to smolder
you smelled smoke and sun
permeating canvas.
Time for breakfast
and dust.
And so you got up.
Your expertise prevailed,
though heat and dry and flame,
bound by allegiance
to capricious winds,
urged sparks to
inhale bufflegrass.
Day and fire had broken
bright, and another vertical flight,
blessed the ground
with a hopeful baptism.
The fire moved east,
the campsite cleared
of the hazy iciensio,
which had burned on La Iglesia,
her overpowering nostalgia
lingering beyond Conquistadors.
You returned to yourself
and camp,
and all of you,
weary of grime and seared sweat,
enjoyed a warm shower,
scrubbed worn muscles,
washed away your daylight skills…
to return to your dreams,
until the next ride.

(This picture was taken two years ago. There is a temporary seasonal helipad near my barn. We sometimes use part of the area as an arena when the fire crews aren’t there. We asked permission to ride over and there were no fires or flights that day. The current Bighorn fire began with a lightning strike on June 5, and is now 45 percent contained, though air operations were grounded today due to extreme winds. Bufflegrass is an invasive species that has added to the difficulty in managing this fire. La Iglesia is a rock formation that makes up part of the Santa Catalina mountain range.)

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