12.22.2011

fire on the mountain

the other day after I dropped the boys off at school I ran some errands
already being in the car I tried to make efficient use of already being out and about and zipped around in the car picking up things that I can not so easily carry on the bike

to the grocery store... the kids toy store... then the liquor store...
filling up the car with far more than I could carry on the bike
trying to time things such to arrive with the stores open
grocery stores open earlier than toy store and the liquor store
which had the ice cream melting as I waited for these other stores to start their day while I tried to get on with mine

after checking off everything on the shopping list I headed home very proud
proud that I was coming home with more than a handful of beans
proud that this shopping spree was not some sort of Jack and the Bean Stalk scenario

heading back home I dipped into "the park"
as I rolled down Broad Branch I saw a sign saying "LOCAL TRAFFIC ONLY" as I approached temporary one lane bridge
well... the sign should have read BRIDGE CLOSED because I was traveling locally but could not get past the bridge that was working on

unable to pass I made a three point turn and headed for home
no raise of heart rate... no slamming to the steering wheel... just turned it around and headed for an alternate route home

reversing my tracks and headed for Grant Road in Rock Creek Park I saw a fire up on the hill
in the yard of what must be a multi million dollar house I saw a fire
curious I stopped the car
I did not see a ring surrounding a fire pit
I did not see laborers with racks burning leaves

still in my car I sat and watched as this small fire grew

with cell phone in hand I thought about what to do
it seemed that calling the DC Fire Department could be overkill
so I pulled into a driveway and knocked on the door of a neighbor of the house with the fire in the yard
the man at the door was quick to get his shoes to stomp the fire out
with him feeling comfortable about going in his neighbor's yard I also felt comfortable

on the hill at the fire I started trying to stomp out the fire
it was like a game of WHACK A MOLE
I would stomp in one spot and the fire would just grow bigger in another spot
there was a small throw rug that I used to suffocate larger sections of fire at once

things were starting to be contained
I was working alongside the man whose door I had knocked on
me working with the throw rug and him with his snow shovel
by this time a woman who must live in this house was by our side
I asked her if she had a hose... she did not... so I sent her to get some buckets of water

it was not clear... but it appeared that she may have taken the ash and ambers from a chiminea or a fire pit from a fire she had the night prior
I was too focused on the fire to translate her thick European accent

we cleared a ring around the fire or leaves so the fire could not grow
while snuffing out what fire remained
I instructed the woman who arrived with water to douse the ashes with water
with things appearing to be under control I left off for home

we exchanged goodbyes
I accepted a thank you

on my drive home I thought about what could have been
how much park land and how much residential property could have caught fire if the helpful neighbor and myself had not lent assistance to this woman who may have not been capable of containing this fire

I also thought of the back yard fires that I have in my back yard
I thought about the tinderbox effect of these dried leaves
it was a good little wake up call to the danger of fire

glad we were able to resolve things quickly
lucky that I happened to take this route home to the closed one lane bridge
which pushed me to backtrack past this small fire that could have easily grown out of control
a fire that was starting to get out of control


The Grateful Dead
Fire on The Mountain off Shakedown Street
www.youtube.com
when I lived in Breckenridge Colorado there was a Grateful Dead Tribute called Shakedown Street that was quite good
a tribute band that is good?
a band covering the Grateful Dean good?
never thought I would catch myself sharing that set of sentiments

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