I'm really not one for heroics. I've never beat up the bad guy or saved the girl but I did once save Oakland county from... well, me. I was on a solo day trip in the country to do some nature photography in early spring. It was a beautiful day but quite windy. I found a nice spot on top of a hill to enjoy my sandwich and a beer. I love campfires so I gathered several dead tree limbs and made a small fire. Shortly thereafter, a lick of wind kicked at the fire and sent some sparks into the tinder-dry grasses. I jumped to my feet to step on it but before I could, fire was racing down the hill. My stomping on the fire had little effect so I yanked off my beloved denim jacket and started swatting. I was able to gain some control on the sides but the wind kept pushing the fire down the hill so I knew I'd have to meet it head on rather than attacking the flanks. The wind was from the north and all of Oakland county lie to the south. Though in a complete panic with adrenalin flowing like a river, I was able to envision the lead story; Conflagration burns from Sunday through Tuesday, leaving hundreds homeless and destroying twenty square miles of northern Oakland county. The fire, which was thought to have been created by a mishap involving a cow and a lamp turned out to have been caused by the reckless behavior of a careless idiot. He is tentatively identified as Bud Beeler of Oxford. I stood my ground in the path of the inferno and flailed with the jacket at roughly two hundred beats per minute. In the throes of incredible fury, I began gaining the upper hand and pushed past my exhaustion into a mechanical frenzy. And then it was over. I collapsed to my hands and knees among the char and wept briefly before vomiting. After a delerious period of shaking I felt stable enough to get to my feet and wearily walk back to my car. Twisting the rear view mirror down to get a look at my red, blistered face, I didn't recognize myself. I used to have a moustache and eyebrows. The front of my scalp was a hard matt of melted hair. It was several days before I stopped coughing up soot and almost as long for the ache of my depleted muscles to abate. I'm less trusting of wind and fire now. When I build a campfire, I use more caution. And I like to have a denim jacket handy... just in case.