Sunday, June 30, 2013

Beautiful Starry Nights and Heroes Remembered

9 Year Old's "Starry Night" Look at that tree! Wowsers!
My heart is heavy as I start this post. 

However, I have to put that aside for a moment as I brag on my June Session art kids. 

The last day of that session was Wednesday June 26th. 

Here are some Starry Night completions that make me wish I can jump into the pictures like Burt and Mary Poppins!

7 Year Old's "Starry Night" Cool effects in the stars and what a village!
6 Year Old's "Starry Night" Check out those peaks, stars and a rocket!
And here is my older student's progress on her Patriotic Collage! The picture of it head on (above) shows the glare from the still drying top coat to protect the surface.

And my own collage in progress - before it may have become a "hot mess"

This week is the fourth of July, so I'm taking this week off from classes and my July session starts next week!

As for the reason for the sadness. When 9/11 happened almost 12 years ago, we lost a lot of EMT workers (police/fire/medical). Tonight was a tragic incident involving the most EMT worker deaths since 9/11, and it happened literally in our back yard. 

I mentioned in a January 2009 post of our plans to build a house in Wickenburg and then hopefully have some sort of "summer shack" 30 miles up the road from there in the Yarnell/Peeples Valley area. Well, here we are 4 years later. We have our land in Wickenburg and we're hoping to break ground there soon.  As for the "summer shack", we still hope to eventually make that a reality.

Because of the record heat this week, I wanted to go up to Yarnell/Peeples Valley yesterday to first, get away from the crazy heat and two, see how it felt up there at 4500 feet. 

We started our "trek" in North Phoenix at the construction of the Phoenix LDS Temple. Since we'll be living in Wickenburg, it'll be our closest temple. It was 119 degrees as I stepped out to snap a picture or two.  Yes, you read that right. 119. It hasn't been that hot in over a decade.
Phoenix/Peoria Arizona LDS Temple Under Construction
We then drove up to and then through Wickenburg where it was something between 114-116 degrees (not much difference to Phoenix, but hey, it's something!) and then we climbed to the 4500 feet up to Yarnell. 

It was still warm up there (104), but it was 15 degrees cooler than the 119 down here. So we hung out up there for a bit before continuing onto Prescott where it would be another 10 degrees cooler and we'd have dinner. 

While in Peeples Valley, I saw smoke to the south near the steep climb from the desert floor to the top of the Plateau where Yarnell is. I worried about it. I wondered if anything was being done to contain it. It looked still manageble and small (but I'm not a firefighter or expert, so it's just my observation from my vantage point on a Saturday afternoon).

We continued north to Prescott and soon, the smoke was no longer visible behind us.  And by the way, the road from Wilhoit to Prescott is nuts. I haven't been that carsick in a long time. I thought that in the future when we live in Wickenburg, I can eventually "commute" to Prescott for my Masters Degree at Prescott College, (they offer a Masters in Art History and Criticism) but after that stretch of road, I'm not too sure!

However, in this heat, Prescott was quite welcoming. We enjoyed another 10 degree reprieve and as evening approached, it was even nicer. We had dinner at Bill's Pizza in downtown Prescott, just across the street from the Courthouse Square. Let me tell you, Bill's Pizza is AMAZING. I am definitely going back there!

There was an outdoor concert in the park at the Courthouse Square, and since it cooled down a bit once the sun started to go down and there were happy grey pillows of happiness in the sky (clouds), the grass of the park was a great place for people to gather. 

However, we knew we had to head home. In other words, back down to the sizzle.

After hitting Diary Queen in Prescott Valley, we took the Interstate route home (different than the route we took to get there). I wondered about the smoke I saw near Yarnell, but heard nothing on the radio. 

Until today. 

Not only did the dry conditions and wind and high temps help this explode into a devastating wildfire, 19 firefighters from Prescott all lost their lives when their team was trapped. 

Over 200 homes have been burned down and half of Yarnell is now gone. 

If there is any good news in this madness, this conflagration isn't believed to be human caused. It's believed a lightning strike from Friday 28th which sparked this and it "smoldered" for a day or so. 

I wish they could have gotten on this when any smoke was seen. But like I said, I am no expert. I don't know when or how these matters are determined.

I am just sick about this. I'm sick at the huge tragedy that has occurred. We've had huge wildfires in AZ in the last 10 years, and up until now, no lives have been lost. In 1990, 6 lives were lost fighting the "Dude Fire" near Payson. Colorado has had a horrible wildfire in the last month and two lives were lost when two residents didn't evacuate in time.  The most firefighters that have been lost due to wildfires was about 14 I think in Colorado in the mid-1990s.

But here we day into a new wildfire and we have a whole team of firefights just.... gone. 

My heart aches for them and their families. My heart aches for those that have lost their homes due to this fire. 

Some News links:

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