The flames are not particular. They don't care who your daddy is. They don't care what mascot you choose. When the grass is crackles under your feet and the humidity is so low everything you touch sends a spark, whether you're wearing sweats and sweaters or not, the fire will rage across these prairies, through fences, across roads, stopping only to consume a house, a cow, a dog. It is in these moments when the borders matter no more that we stop to think about what matters most. It's not our things, not our possessions. It's our family. It's the people in our community and the communities down the road. When brave volunteer firefighters give their time to save your things, knowing that really it is your life that matters most. And yet, they fight to protect the things that help the people. The cattle that are part of the livelihood and part of the food system. The homes that give shelter.
My boss always encourages us to take ownership of our E-Communities and their successes. So we wake up every day with a handful of communities in the region that we "worry" about. People in the communities that we've formed bonds with in order to face adaptive challenges to improve and strengthen the entrepreneurial environment of that community. Out west, those people are more than just the people I work with, they're an extension of my community and my heart. So as I went to bed last night and woke up this morning, I was not worrying about the successes of the communities as it relates to my work. I was concerned with the individuals' well being. I thought of Janae, Roger, Joann, Darci, and Lea Ann. My heart went out to the farmers, ranchers, and business people of their communities. If these flames steal their homes and livelihoods, what next. What tools do we have in our tool box that help communities and businesses rebuild? Will they see any potential tragedy and loss as an opportunity to be entrepreneurial? Or is the easy, technical fix where they will lean?
The grass grows greenest where it's watered. It also grows greenest after it's burned. How can these flames provide opportunity for growth and strengthened relationship? These flames that ignore borders as much as roots ignore fences. It is my hope that from the ashes rise stronger communities. Communities that remember the flames destroyed the feelings of competition in the time of need. The communities that demonstrated that people are most important, that with any changing wind it could be our property and loved ones facing the flames. As the flames destroyed the land, let the new roots that grow carry with them the spirit of ignoring fences and borders, and remembering that we are better when we choose cooperation rather than competition.