August 2017: Greetings from Lady Dunrovin
Just when we really needed it, Montanans pulled together to put on a spectacular art extravaganza for the inaugural Horse of a Different Color. Sponsored by Dunrovin Ranch’s affiliate nonprofit organization, Friends of Dunrovin, to raise money for equine-assisted therapy, the event was months in the planning. These plans could easily have gone up in smoke, along with the forests in the surrounding mountains, as the Lolo Peak fire exploded and engulfed our entire valley. Nerves were frayed. Bodies were exhausted form hard work and endless worrying. Spirits were shrouded and defeated by the cloud of thick smoke. And then, like the flowers that will surely come in the wake of the fire, this brief and beautiful moment of community art, connecting with our lovely equine partners, and good food, wine, and music, allowed us to revitalize, to regain our footing for the challenges of the days to come.
What a juxtaposition! The night before the event, conditions conspired to whip the fire into a frenzy that rained ash on the ranch and ringed our horizon with flames. Up all night manning the hoses to ensure the ashes did not burst into flame, it did not seem possible that the event could go forth. Yet, in spite of having to evacuate their homes or help family members do the same, everyone stepped up and made it happen. What resilience and courage and spunk!
While tragic to humans, fire is a natural part of western Montana’s ecology. Many of the plants have evolved strategies to live with and thrive in the face of fire. It is a challenge for us to do the same. For far too long, we have seen forest fires as the exception, rather than the rule. It will take energy and commitment and enlightenment for us to adapt, to alter our expectations and monitor our forest activities to adjust to a reality that has been there all along, but from which we have tried to hide.
At times like this, I am grateful for all of the strength, dedication, and spirit of my neighbors, friends, and the many firefighters from across the nation who responded to the call for help. I am humbled and grateful for all of their contributions. I am also grateful for my many online friends who have held my hand throughout the ordeal with encouraging words, cards, and messages. You have made a difference, and I thank you.
Putting this issue of the magazine together has been rewarding for me. It has helped me sum up all that has been happening in the valley and all that went into creating such an outstanding inaugural Horse of a Different Color. This month has taken me to the extremes of anxiety, of worry, of hope, and of joy. I welcome the opportunity to share it all with you.
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