In the Nick of Time, posted on September 2nd, was my first regular contribution to Bucket List Publications’ online magazine. It dealt with (in part) the terrible Rim Fire that was threatening Yosemite National Park. Almost a month later, the Rim Fire continues to blaze. And although experts hope it will be under control by the end of the month, parts of the fire are likely to continue burning until winter rain and snow finally extinguish them.
The Rim Fire, which started when a hunter lost control of their illegal campfire back on August 17th, has so far consumed around 402 square miles of forest in and around Yosemite National Park. Thankfully, the Yosemite Valley, at the heart of the park, escaped the flames’ ravages.
In a horribly ironic twist, the same day I was blogging about California’s Rim Fire, local news sources where I live in Ontario, were also reporting on another fire. Although on a much smaller scale, the fire in question was just as devastating to those involved. The only saving grace is that there were no human casualties in either blaze.
St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market has been a popular destination since it was established back in 1975. Summer or winter, on market days the place absolutely buzzes with people and energy. The market is always full to bursting, with locals doing their weekly shop for home-grown meats and produce, and tourists buying gifts of summer sausage and maple syrup direct from the Old Order Mennonites that make them. It’s a place I love to go, although I don’t get there half as often as I’d like.
But in the small hours of the morning on September 2nd, a ravenous fire razed the market’s main two-storey building to the ground. By sunrise, a few charred remnants of the building’s timber frame were all that remained. And along with the building went all of the vendors’ stock, and everything else inside. In total, the fire is estimated to have caused about $2 million worth of damage.
And suddenly I regret even more lazing in bed on a Saturday morning, instead of getting up and heading off to market.
Not that St Jacobs Farmers’ Market is done for, mind. The merchants that used to be housed within the main building have been relocated to outdoor sites for the remainder of the summer, and a temporary tent-like structure is being erected to see them through the winter. In the meantime, urgent plans for a permanent replacement for the destroyed building are hurrying ahead.
Some people have suggested a traditional Mennonite barn raising would be the perfect way to move forwards from this tragedy. It would definitely get my vote!