In the last two and a half days I’ve had a chance to really examine my own mortality. It’s a strange sensation really – to think about the world without you in it. To think about your friends, family, pets, possessions, home no longer being there when they were just there a moment ago.
This morning when I awoke, there was a thick grey cloud of smoke just over the hill. I knew it came from the three fires blazing and threatening to merge, just a 20 minute drive from me. There are quite a few miles between me and ‘it’ but with gale force winds, an ember can fly a pretty long way. Our house is butted up against the “Wash” which is a dry riverbed that comes off the Angeles Crest National Forest. Lots of dry brush more than happy to make itself fuel for any fires that might want to visit. Indeed, I have seen fires just up the side of the mountain which is at the end of my block. I’ve heard the helicopters and seen the planes that drop the water many, many times. Believe me, folks, it’s unnerving.
Though wherever you live you come to accept whatever the natural disaster of that region is and tend to live your life – go about your business. I’ve lived here a long time and seen a lot of fires, a lot of mud slides and quite a few earthquakes. But, I’ve never seen 12-15 fires raging at once, never seen our spectacular firefighters stretched so thin and so far. So maybe that is why I decided to stay home from work today. My gut told me to stay. I couldn’t stop thinking about how I would feel if I came home to burned down home or dead pets, from smoke inhalation. Melted and fused possessions (precious few, I admit, but still mine).
My boss was none too happy that I decided to stay home. She essentially told me I was nuts to worry about it. She kept saying it wasn’t going to come and nothing was going to burn down. But I wouldn’t relent and I’m glad I didn’t. The winds have died down, which is good news. And it sounds as though a few of the fires have gotten a bit under control. Even the big cloud of smoke has dissipated. They say that the on shore winds should start tomorrow, which will throw moisture into the air and somehow help the firefighters fight the monstrous flames.
And I’m safe in my home with my pets and my things. Unlike 500,000 of my fellow Californians, many of whom who have lost everything except whatever they were able to take with them.
In view of all of this, the job doesn’t matter a damn. Nor does what my boss wants or whether or not she thinks I’m nuts to think or feel what I think and feel. Jobs can be replaced, so can bosses for that matter. In fact, I wouldn’t trade my job or job security for even one of my pets or my computer for that matter.
It’s times like these that you have to just stop and figure out what matters to you and then do your best to protect it. And so I am.
Thanks for all the well wishes. I am fine. I’m worried and frankly a bit scared, but okay, nonetheless. Keep praying for everyone else out there. There are millions of us and many of them need your prayers.
Anyone interested in helping here are a few links: