A Memoir of the Land and Its Loss
Journalist and educator Patricia Prijatel and her family built a tiny cabin in a remote Colorado mountain valley where they embraced the silent, the wild, and the beautiful-until June 2013 and the East Peak Fire. Their cabin survived, but their woodlands became a burn-scarred landscape of splintered trunks and blackened branches.
After the fire, the ruin of the land and its people grew: flash floods on eroded land, invasive weeds crowding out grass and seedlings, hurricane-level winds breaking healthy trees, dangerous orphaned animals, toxic air, and stress leading to life-threatening diseases.
Burn Scars: A Memoir of the Land and Its Loss follows Prijatel and her family through six years of living in a changed ecosystem. It’s a story of a love of the land, of hope challenging despair, of climate grief, and the birth of a climate warrior. With searing honesty, Prijatel chronicles an unprecedented transition for America’s natural forests, the life they nurture, and the people witnessing their tragic loss. Her story serves as a love song, a warning, and a glimpse of the future we’ll all navigate as climate change remakes the places we’ve loved. It’s also a call to fight for a priceless treasure we can still preserve-if we act now.
Author Bio: Patricia Prijatel is the E.T. Meredith Distinguished Professor Emerita at Drake University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications. She is the author of Surviving Triple-Negative Breast Cancer and co-author of the magazine from Cover to Cover. She’s published more than a thousand articles and essays for a diverse array of publications, including Psychology Today, Cure, Better Homes and Gardens, Print, Diabetic Living, Huffington Post, Ms., and Balanced Living. She lives in Des Moines, Iowa, and spends her summers at her cabin in the southern Colorado mountains.