Negotiations to replace my homestead destroyed by the Hermit's Peak Fire will begin sometime next year. When next year is anyone's guess as bureaucrats work to get their ducks in a row for the process. Well, apparently they're not working today, Christmas Day. It's a federal holiday, so they're with family in warm homes celebrating in comfort and cheer.
I'm trying to maintain a positive attitude about the upcoming negotiations, but it's not easy to do. Can't help steeling for a confrontational experience attempting to attain a goal it took me more than twenty years of concerted, highly rewarding DIY thought and labor to achieve.
With each passing season the homestead project started from scratch on an unimproved high-country parcel at the turn of the century instilled deep appreciation for the land, the forest, the home, and its 100% off-grid infrastructure which had all served so well in combination to provide ideal shelter in peaceful solitude I had never imagined would be so utterly satisfying at every stage of completion. And as I lived and worked there to build the homestead from the ground up in small but steady steps it became apparent I never really wanted to live anywhere else again. Everything I needed or wanted was there in abundance.
Now across thousands of acres in every direction it's a wasteland, charred and blackened beyond recognition. Looking at it triggers instant, deep, enduring bouts of awful depression. I don't want to see it. Don't want to think about it, and certainly don't want to live there now.
But I have to think about it. I have to plan and prepare for negotiating fair compensation for these losses. Problem is going to be quantifying losses from obliteration of the small, steady steps taken to build the homestead from the ground up into precisely what I wanted it to be.
I have a bad feeling the people handling Hermit's Peak Fire Assistance Act compensations determination are not going to be up to the task, and will completely fail to do their job well.