Monday, September 5, 2011

Austin heat, Austin tears

All signs are pointing to "obliterated" as far as my parents' place in Bastrop is concerned. 

My sister and her husband got engaged and married there.

Dancin'!

Thanks to the amazing Ku Photography

And we recently added on a great deck with a little salt water pool.




Where we had a beautiful family reunion a couple of months ago.

Thanks to my sister-in-law, Tammy, for the pic. And to my dad for love and life and college and all that :)


Yesterday around 2 p.m. Joseph and I left Austin to meet up with my parents there. We had brilliant plans to swim and nap and grill steaks and spend the night. My mom called me and told me to be on the lookout because a ways down the road (but non-threatening to our place) was a blossoming fire, so Joseph and I drove a bit past the turnoff to investigate. It was obvious that the fire was spreading more rapidly than we would've imagined. As we neared my parents' property a fire truck passed us and told us we "might want to think about evacuating". My mom was at the grocery store at the time, but Joseph and I pulled up onto the property and told my dad what was going on. Around that time we heard someone driving around with a loudspeaker announcing the need to evacuate, so with hearts pounding we grabbed a few photo albums, the laptops, the dog, and my mom's jewelry, and left to meet up with my mom down the road where it was safe(r). We watched the fire grow for hours from the corner of 71 and 21. I can't even describe it. Every few minutes a new huge cloud of black smoke would pop up signaling a lost house, another family we hope was safe. Finally there wasn't anything left to do, so we drove into Austin to mine and Joseph's apartment, whence we've been staring at the Twitter feed for #centraltxfires. Our fantastic waiter at P.F. Chang's did comp our desserts (thanks, Clint!). It's amazing how such a small gesture of kindness can warm your heart when it's taking all of your energy not to cry.

Mom and Dad tried to drive out today to assess damage but there was no way for them to get anywhere close; they ended up helping out some people at a different fire. I'm still nursing the tiniest glimmer of hope, but given where the house is (was?) I know it's ridiculous to do so. It wasn't our main house, but it is what we consider the family meetup, and it's my parents' pride and joy. They got the land around 2003 and have built 2 cabins on it. So many memories, so many holidays, plans, so many of the best times surrounded by 10 acres of gorgeous trees. It's heartbreaking to think that it's probably all gone, but it could have been so, so much worse. My heart and thoughts are with everyone affected, and a little piece of my wallet is with the Red Cross. Tons are losing their only homes, many are uninsured, and everyone is experiencing the surreality that is 25,000 acres and counting burning to the ground. Give if you can, and keep sending thoughts, prayers, positive energy, whatever you believe in, to central Texas. I'm sending a heck of a lot of love out myself.

12 comments:

  1. I am so sorry to hear that. Hugs to you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So so sad for your family but so so glad your family is safe.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a beautiful post and a beautiful focus in the midst of all that is so hard for our beautiful area. Hoping against hope for you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sending love and prayers your way. Heart is broken for all of those affected by ths devastation.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's a lovely home, and I hold out hope that it's still standing! Prayers for your family and every family affected by these fires!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm so sorry about this. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Keep us posted & let our Austin bloggers group know what we can do to help!

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a beautiful post! Sending prayers to all affected by these terrible fires!

    ReplyDelete
  8. such a lovely home. I cant imagine your pain. I will add you and yours to my prayers.

    ReplyDelete
  9. So well said, my friend. Am transmitting mucho love & good vibes to you & your family, and to everyone affected. So glad y'all are safe, hoping that containment news will come soon.

    ReplyDelete
  10. what heartbreak! praying for you all.

    ReplyDelete