June 13, 2012
The Colorado High
Park Fire and Us
June 29, 2012
High Park Fire
Pics & Update
July 1, 2012
Our First Trip
Back to "Paradise"
July 12, 2012
Ash Day
Reality Check
August 6, 2012
Progress Report &
Pics on the Fire
August 16, 2012
Before & After
Fire Pics
September 12, 2012
After Fire
Progress Update
September 27, 2012
Work Parties and
Donkey Story
November 29, 2012
OK - The Black
Truth Blog
January 2, 2013
Looking Forward,
Looking Back
June 18, 2013
One Year Later -
The High Park Fire
September 20, 2013
We Weathered
the Storm


The following letter was sent on November 29, 2012:

OK - The Black Truth Blog
Colorado High Park Fire Update

There's a real nice radio with video clip at the end of this story to cheer you up after reading this!  : )

Almost six months. Seems like yesterday in many respects. While the topic of the High Park Fire has fallen to little notice in the news anymore, and as the holidays, school, elections, and storms and news from across the country take precedence, the aftermath of the fire is still an everyday struggle for so many here.
If you’re wondering where I’ve been, well, lately I just didn’t have it in me to compose.
Great progress is definitely being made, but personally, I think I hit the wall emotionally about four weeks ago.  So many months of “stiff upper lip,” “keeping your chin up,” “think positive,” “be grateful for what you have (believe me – I am!),” “stay strong,” “move forward,” “what a great attitude you have!” and “roll up your sleeves and do what needs to be done” have finally taken their toll.
Yes, we will make it. As Mike said this week, “We’re fighting through it.” Ha! Literally and figuratively. When every day you must make the decision to ignore the black, face the black, clean up the black, cry about the black, or somehow else deal with the black, eventually it all adds up. And I can’t even imagine what my fellow fire survivors are going through who lost everything!
Some of them have sold out and moved away, some have already purchased property elsewhere “that won’t burn,” as one neighbor said, some are still sifting and sorting through the ashes and debris of their homes and dealing with insurance companies, and some appear to have abandoned it all. But others are already re-building, with hopes and dreams to put this behind them.
Thank you so much for your continued thoughts, support, and prayers. The insurance company has come through for us wonderfully, and now we’re in the process of stretching every dollar. Each day we have to decide what to cover, what to put off, and what likely won’t happen after all. I’m also finding there’s no way I can run my business, heal the land, and take care of myself all at the same time. Something’s gotta give. It’s overwhelming to face it all, and make all these decisions, and then feel guilty I’m not bouncing with joy, when things could be so much worse.
I think I’ve got about half my brain back now. I’ve realized I’m speaking in fragmented sentences (which reflect my thoughts), and will completely lose track of what I was saying at all. I’ll walk five steps and have to literally go back to remember what I was doing. It’s rather disconcerting. And this is improvement over three months ago!  : )
I have little patience, I’m fried, and I really, really need to get away. I live with burnt trees around me every day, and so now even when I’m in a beautifully un-burnt area like Estes Park, I still “see” burn everywhere in my mind. Not good. This will change eventually, I know it will.
Shopping for replacement clothes has not been as fun as I’d hoped. When every kind salesperson asks me, “How are you? Are you finding everything you want?,” I sometimes struggle not to burst into tears, and have to resist the urge to say, “No! I’m not alright! And I want my own (name particular favorite lost item of clothing) back, and you don’t have it!” So selfish and self-centered of me, I know.
Warning – if these days you ask me, “How are you doing?,” I might tell you!  Sorry if I’ve been crabby to you, my dear friends. Thank you to those who have been here helping us out when I have a controlled outburst. You’ve been so kind…
Good days and bad days. Emotional ups and downs. A high point in this last month was our annual Victorian Ball in Estes Park on November 17. What a joy to see all of you! You lifted my spirits and kept me happily distracted. It wore me out, but was worth every minute.
Quite a few of you have expressed concern for our wellbeing. It is appreciated. We will make it, but it’s been rough going lately. We’re both too stubborn to cave, and we know this is to be expected after what we’ve been through. Experts say it can take a year or more for folks to “bounce back” after a disaster like this. The whole community was affected in one way or another. Mike keeps telling me to cut myself slack for not “getting over it” yet. He’s right.
We still need help, on many levels, and I’m willing to admit it. We need physical help with the land, emotional help when I’m pretending everything’s OK, and spiritual help with continued prayers. Not just for us, but for our entire community, as well.
Well, there you have it. Perhaps writing this is my own therapy.  Hopefully this will be a turning point, and I can start to get it out of my system. Trust me, I hate this part. I am so grateful God made me a person of great hope and with a naturally positive attitude, and I know this is only a temporary season. I’m looking forward to when this passes, because IT WILL!  : D
Thanks again for your love and prayers. A “normal” update will follow soon, full of news and photos and all the cool things that are happening here. Thanks for listening, my friends. You are like a warm, cozy blanket to me. Just understand if I don’t feel like being cheerful right now, and know it’s temporary. Flashes of joy. It will be alright.
Carpe diem,
Sharon Guli
God is Good

Postscript:  Grace Hood, with KUNC, has been following us since the evacuation. She came up to visit us in early October and produced this really nice radio clip you can listen to on the internet, with a video at the bottom of the article. I hope you'll listen to them and enjoy! If Mozilla Firefox won't play the audio and video clips, it should work on Internet Explorer.

Here's a link to the first story she did on us, too, right at the beginning of all this: