Sunday, November 11, 2018

Tragedy in California

I was born and raised in California, and I love my State. California needs your love and to be in your thoughts right now. Fires are raging from Northern to Southern California, and the entire town of Paradise has been leveled– with 23 lives lost, so far.

California is currently being ravaged by wildfires, and while I am not in the epicenter, I am close enough to have my car covered in ash, and to have a difficult time breathing because of the thick soot-filled air. That is nothing compared to what my neighbors face. Many have lost their homes, some have lost their lives or the lives of their loved ones. One of our most-traveled freeways and one of our most-traveled highways have been closed, and in horror people watched as the fire jumped the 101 and the Pacific Coast Highway. People who I know have lost their homes while many others have been evacuated and don't know if their homes remain.

While it may no longer be at the top of the news cycle in your area, it certainly is here. What makes this even more incomprehensible is the fact that Thousand Oaks, a suburb north of Los Angeles, just sustained a profound loss of 12 innocent people who were murdered at Borderline Bar & Grill on November 7, and people in this community were grieving and preparing to bury their family members when this fire took root in their backyards.

I not only worry about all of the people in California traumatized by this, but I worry about the displaced animals, and the animals who have perished.

As I write these words the Woolsey Fire has claimed 83,000+ acres and is only 5% contained, and the winds, which abated for a day, are expected to return with a vengeance. I am watching the news and Malibu looks like a war-torn ghost town. Neighborhoods have been decimated from trailer parks to the mansion-filled streets.

Hug the people that you love, and don't wait until tomorrow to do it. Life is so precious and fragile, and sometimes it hangs in a precarious balance with unforeseen events looming in the future. Remember what is really important– because those are the things that really count the most. Houses and material possessions can be replaced, lives cannot.


  1. Helen, I am so sorry. I have many friends in California and have been following this tragedy. And it's not the first year that fires have stricken your state and it seems to get worse every year. And sadly, it's no happenstance. This is attributable to climate change. That is what scientists say. Climate change manifests in different locales in different ways. It can be fires in one place and blizzards somewhere else and flooding in a third location. It just depends on the specific geography of a region. In no century before ours have mass technologies interrupted earth cycles as they have in ours. And though some people have been misinformed about this, we can no longer stick our heads in the sand. There are some things that most of us participate in (like our forms of energy consumption) that contribute and there are things we can do to stop it and even make it all better (like green energy and regenerative agriculture). What's going on in California right now is a message from Mother Earth to pay attention and do some things differently. We have to.

    1. Thank you, Allison. You are absolutely right in your assessment. My mom and I were just having this very same conversation. It makes no sense that anyone could deny climate change when the evidence is everywhere. We need to wake up!


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