Vail Valley Voices: Earth element sweeps away a favorite house |

Vail Valley Voices: Earth element sweeps away a favorite house

Karen Petersen
Vail, CO, Colorado

The fires on the Front Range of Colorado have devastated our beautiful state.

I have personally felt the loss as the Mountain Shadows neighborhood of Colorado Springs is a place I used to call home. As a builder with my former husband, we built several homes in that beautiful, pristine neighborhood next to the Garden of the Gods.

For the entire four days the fire was burning, I helplessly watched the live coverage from the local Colorado Springs TV station, In horror and disbelief, I recognized homes in my former neighborhood going up in flames.

Five days after the fire began, they posted all of the properties that had been affected by the fire just after they held a community meeting to announce to the Mountain Shadows owners the current state of their home.

I slowly scanned the list, looking for all the addresses I recognized as being homes that we built, and they were all unaffected except the house we last built and lived in.

After I saw a live video of my house on fire, I trembled and sobbed. It was my dream home, taking 15 months to construct due to all the custom interior features and complicated design.

The house was created based on principle of sacred geometry, using many hexagonal rooms throughout. I had carefully considered the placement of all the rooms based on feng shui principles that were specific to my family’s birth charts.

It had hand-stripped logs placed as support beams to separate the rooms. The showers were hand-drawn murals inset with tumbled tiles. One shower had a photograph of Havasu Falls imprinted on the tile wall.

I personally laid on my back on a scaffolding plank for two weeks and hand laid 4-inch copper foil in the entire 150-square-foot tray ceiling of the dining room.

I designed a 6-foot stained glass dome, something similar to what you would see in a cathedral, to grace the custom-built, sweeping spiral staircase in the two-story foyer.

My soul was imprinted into that house. The house was alive with my energy and welcomed me home every day.

After we sold the house, every time I visited the Springs, I would drive by the house and sit in front of it to feel its energy and talk to it. I had named it The Berkshire.

Unless you have built a house and personally created it from an idea, you will probably not understand the magnitude of this attachment. I had built several homes, but this one was more alive than most as a result of the energy I put into it.

My heart breaks for all the people who lost their homes in this fire. I cannot begin to feel the pain of losing their personal articles and mementos of their life, let alone their homes.

In one day, this house was destroyed by an earth element. What took 15 months to build Mother Nature wiped out in one day. This is the reality of how powerful cataclysmic events are and that one day everything in our life may be completely changed.

Wind,water, air, and fire are all elements that can destroy our homes and the very fabric of our lives.

We are particularly vulnerable in the Vail Valley to fire. As locals, I think we are all aware of this, but what happens when there is one careless person or the visitors who come here who may not be so aware?

What happens when a careless smoker throws a burning cigarette butt out their window? It could change all of our lives forever. I am happy that the Fourth of July fireworks were canceled this year.

It just would not have been right to have a fire potential event when so many of our Front Range neighbors are still suffering from their losses. Please be conscious of anything that might jeopardize our beautiful valley. The loss of it is too close to all of our hearts and homes.

Karen Petersen is a certified feng shui consultant and owner of Black Diamond Realty. She can be reached at 970-476-4414 or

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