Fire on the Mountain
by Janene Baadsgaard
          My husband and I drove up to our cabin last night after suddenly receiving a pre-evacuation order. “If you have any valuables, get them out now!” the order said. The whole wooded mountainside behind our cabin was engulfed in roaring, towering flames. Our cabin is situated in Loafer Canyon between Elk Ridge and Woodland Hills. 
          As we drove quickly toward our cabin, warning sirens blared and fire fighters scrambled to set up a command post in the parking lot of an LDS chapel at the base of the mountain. Cars formed a long line as thousands of men, women and children in Elk Ridge and Woodland Hills raced from their homes after a sudden mandatory evacuation notice.
          When we got to our cabin it was raining ash all around us. We walked up the steps with cinder in our eyes and stepped in the front door. What do we take? What are our valuables? We only had a few minutes.
          Knowing this might be the last time we stepped inside our cabin, I quickly walked from room to room filming the cozy country retreat we created for our family to enjoy. In a few moments all this might go up in smoke. This cabin in the forest was our dream realized - what my husband and I had saved up for our entire married lives. I filmed the hand stitched pillow on our bed describing our place with the words, “Almost Heaven” and the cabin rules taped to the fridge: 1. Relax, 2. Breathe the fresh mountain air, 3. Listen to the wind in the trees, 4. Gaze up at the stars . . .
          I quickly dashed up the stairs hearing the echo of my grandchildren’s laughter as cousins made forever friends playing dress-ups and chess. I filmed Grandpa’s four-wheeler imagining the flushed faces of my grandchildren after a ride in the crisp autumn air. I looked over the deck and remembered children jumping from the ledge into a pile of snow in the winter on a frosty dark night. I thought about the last time we made s’mores over the coals as dusk fell and the sound of crickets filled the air.             While I filmed, my husband gathered our valuables . . . which in the end amounted to a stack of family pictures. Nothing else seemed important. Then we knelt at the side of our couch and prayed.
          “Dear God, thank you for the gift of this cabin and all the loving family memories we’ve made here. If it is Thy, will please protect it from the fire. But if not, give us the faith to rebuild and move forward.”
          There was no time to load a cabin full of appliances, tables, chairs, beds, and chests into the truck and that didn't seem important any more. We knew as we looked one last time at our cabin, that we already had everything that was valuable to us . . . each other, our family and our faith. No matter how fierce the winds, or how high the flames, no destructive work of nature or man could take away our love - and that is what is most valuable. For all power, position and possessions will someday go up in flames. When the smoke dissipates and we see clearly  . . . only love remains.