Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tinder

I was offline most of the day yesterday. Karin, Tim, Deb and Greg will be good blogger sources for what yesterday felt like in Altadena. It sounds to me like it was tense and scary. But people supported each other and helped each other face the tasks they had to face.

We were kind of doing the same thing here in the old 'hood, except it didn't require aircraft. We had a bon voyage party for our friends who are leaving Pasadena.

Yesterday in the comments here on PDP, USElaine said, "When we love nature, we have to accept all of it as a package." Yes, I think so. I think we have to accept it all in order to love it.

Life has such sadness sometimes, such hardship. If we embrace the hardship, might that enable us to find life's goodness? Is that how we locate happiness, by slogging through pain with our eyes and ears and hearts wide open?

"Accept all of it as a package"?

Yes, I think so.

They say some of that brush up in the hills hasn't burned for 60 years. Well, it's a process of nature. That brush has got to burn.

(Update: Thanks to Bellis for reminding me to check LA Creek Freak. Always excellent information there from Jessica and Joe.)

19 comments:

J+P said...

I wish you were wrong.

JT said...

So true! I really appreciate your observation and metaphor about the things we love. Sometimes things need to die before other think can be born. Sixty years is a long time for coastal sage scrub to grow, blossom, mature and die. It was time. My heart and prayers go out to all those that live near or in the path of this natural process of fire. I just hope it can all go away soon without any more lives disrupted. At the very least, in this time of helplessness, the fire brings old friends and neighbors together. I suppose we could celebrate that.

Vanda said...

The wind must have shifted for a while, because I woke up in the middle of the night and could smell the smoke. All the way from here in SF Valley.

Almost Precious said...

It is sad that California seems to suffer yearly with brush and forest fires. But California is an arid state, particularly southern Cal., it doesn't take much to spark and fan a fire, especially during a hot, dry Santa Ana.
Guess your analogy is much like that of the fabled Phoenix, being reborn from the ashes. It is nature's course, unfortunately sometimes man gets in her way.

altadenahiker said...

I heard they suspect arson. I hope that's wrong. This area has been burning regularly and naturally way before there were any towns or cities. Some of the seeds from native vegetation will only germinate when there's a fire.

Petrea said...

Me too, J.

Hey JT--thanks. Click on JT's blog for more photos, people. Plus he's got the terminology and knows what the aircraft are called, and the chemicals they're dropping.

Vanda, I've awakened in Pasadena to smell smoke from Malibu. There's so much, this fire's so huge, it can go hundreds of miles.

Petrea said...

Hi Precious--Yeah, we have a "fire season" here. There should be fires every year, it's natural. It's just that for the last three years, with our drought, the fires have been bigger and harder to fight. (Plus our population continues to build into fire territory.) This year, fire season hasn't had much of a beginning or end, it's basically continued from last year.

I hadn't heard about arson yet, Karin. But as you say, fire is regular and natural here. I don't know which of the plants it is that germinates through fire, but I know that's true of some of the native chapparal.

Cafe Observer said...

I don't like bon voyage parties for friends. Even if I did give one recently.

I mean I do like parties. And friends. It's the bon voyage part I'd rather leave out.
Maybe we should rename them: The Pre-Welcome Back Home Party.

Bellis said...

The ecology of wildfires was my senior dissertation at uni, and most of the research I read at the time came from the American southwest. As I lived in England, the fire-adapted plants, like Ponderosa pine, which needs heat to germinate the seeds, were completely new to me, so a few weeks ago, I was thrilled to see seedlings of this tree sprouting up on the slopes of Mt Islip 7 years after the Curve fire. But even the fire-adapted plants struggle in the current conditions, as Jessica Hall explains so well on yesterday's LA Creek Freak blog. On the bright side, we'll have a fantastic wildflower show next spring.

Petrea said...

Me too, Cafe.

Thanks for the reminder, Bellis. I put the LA Creek Freak link in the post.

Pascal Jim said...

The most frightening aspect of this fire is that little creatures perish.

We are Rose Bowl close and the smoke travels down the Arroyo, its almost ethereal in its coverage.
Very sad, indeed...

USelaine said...

Oh, thanks for the link and mention, P. I thought about this some more - how our ancestors often interpreted lightning, hurricanes, and earthquakes as personal affronts. Yet each of those are just ways this planet resets its balance, while the chain of life keeps riding it out. Blows my mind.

Margaret said...

I'm just in mourning about our sky and our mountains.

Petrea said...

Pascal Jim: It must have been smoky in the Arroyo this morning. Our street was filled, so Boz and I went to the dog beach in Huntington Beach. Maybe it was selfish, but I talk for a living. But my throat was burning until I got into the South Bay.

No kidding, Elaine. Fire is practically the definition of impersonal.

Me, too, Margaret. And worried about friends. But the mountains and sky are still here. I came home via Sierra Madre today. In the park, where last year the fire and news crews were stationed, families played and picnicked.

J+P said...

"Why ever do you mourn? Everything that was created is bound to be destroyed."—L. da Vinci, to himself, in a notebook (beside drawings of the Deluge)

Virginia said...

It was good to hear from our friend USElaine. She is right, but it's hard to accept when what you know and love is going up in smoke. It is nature's way but we have plopped ourselves down in the middle. IT's a hard call. Hang in there and hope you are all safe. Prayers,
V

Katie said...

My thoughts are with my SoCal neighbors as the fires continue to burn. Very scary. I hope the weather cooperates to help the brave firefighters trying to get the fires under control. Interesting to read LA Creek Freak's blog and consider what CA was like when only native plants were here. Plus USelaine's words are very profound, about our ancestors and the rebalancing planet.

Ms M said...

My thoughts, too, are with those of you living in the "fire zone". Take care and be safe...

Bernadette Joolen, Beautiful Dreamer... said...

Petrea, i hope you are all okay. Those San Gabriels, and all of that scrubby chaparral, are one of the most romantic parts of my childhood. How scary to be so close to all of that! I left Pasadena in 1974. I cannot remember any fires. Were there as many fires then?! Well, i was just a kid. I may have just been oblivious. High on rock music, always in love. Take care!!~~bernadette...