By Kathryn Lane
I love the mountains in northern New Mexico. Nature in this
area constantly surprises me with beautiful vistas, wildflowers, and above all,
the wild animals. We have elk, deer, coyotes, wild turkeys, several varieties
of birds, Cooper hawks, and bears. Occasional wild cats and mountain lions also
roam the area. I’m mesmerized by the herds of elk and their calves.
mountains clear my brain and let my creativity flow. This year our normally
peaceful mountain hideaway proved that nature can also be terrifying. A
horrific wildfire started when controlled burns in the Gallinas Canyon in the
Santa Fe National Forest near Las Vegas, NM, got out of hand and turned into
the most destructive wildfire in the state’s recorded history.
In May, evacuations began very close to where we live. We
could see the flames beyond the mountains in front of our cabin and the smoke
was so thick, we decided to pack up and leave. What to take with us became an
issue. Essential articles that we need for any trip is a given. Emergency items
came next. After that, it’s a conflict between sentimental items, such as
paintings, and what we could fit into our vehicle.
Two years ago, I’d given my husband, Bob, a bathrobe for the
cabin. He lost it after forgetting it on a trip last year. He’d spent at least
two months searching online for a replacement. For two months he grumbled about
the bad selection, grim colors, wrong fabric, incorrect length, and lack of
styling. He finally ordered one and it
arrived two days before we evacuated. A thick, heavy terrycloth robe, I put it
in the car.
He immediately asked why we needed to take it.
“We’ll survive the evacuation,” I said, “but I can’t get
through two more months of you hunting for another bathrobe.”
Thankfully, we are back in our beloved mountains and our
cabin survived just fine.
I’d decided, before the wildfire started, to place my next
Nikki Garcia mystery in New Mexico.
Now I’m wondering if I should include a wildfire in the mix to
complicate the plot. One thing is for sure, Bob’s bathrobe will not be a
part of the story! Or maybe a bear will eat the robe!
Postscript: The fire is no longer a threat, but for many
families who lost their homes, their struggle is far from over.
Kathryn’s Nikki Garcia Mystery
Series – on Amazon
Amazon Paperback – https://www.amazon.com/dp/173328270X/
eBook – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084GSGSRX/
Kathryn Lane started out as a painter in oils and quickly became a starving artist. To earn a living, she became a certified public accountant and embarked on a career in international finance with a major multinational corporation. After two decades, she left the corporate world to plunge into writing mystery and suspense thrillers. In her stories, Kathryn draws deeply from her Mexican background as well as her travels in over ninety countries.
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All photographs are used in an editorial and/or
Elk and their Calves by Kathryn Lane
Firefighter – Taos News
Brown Bear by Kathryn Lane
Covers for the Nikki Garcia Mystery Series –
Heidi Dorey designs for Tortuga Publishing, LLC
Photo of Kathryn Lane by Bob Hurt