My heart aches, my city, The City of Angels is on fire. From Ojai to Tujunga and in the 405 corridor families and animals are losing their homes to this horrific fire season.
Living in LA, we’re prone to natural disasters. Whether it’s earthquakes, fires and floods, I tend to think it’s why some of us are so attracted to this city. She captures our hearts as she goes through so much pain and yet still has so much beauty to offer us. We’re attracted to her beauty, the desert, the mountains, and the sea. There is nothing like standing on Mulholland on a clear day and looking out over my city to see the downtown skyline before me, the mountains behind, and the Pacific Ocean to my west. We have it all here and we are so blessed. That’s why so many of us live beyond our means to stay here. The attraction is far deeper than just coming to seek our fame and fortune in a city that has broken just as many dreams as it’s fulfilled. Some stay and some just pass through. I think there’s something special about the people who choose to stay here.
The past few days so many lives and dreams have come crashing down. The Santa Ana’s bring the beautiful blue skies to LA but they can also be our demise. We know in exchange for the clear skies, the risk of quakes and fire. They are cruel winds those Santa Ana’s. This year looks to be the most destructive, at least in my life time. It seems that every major mountain range is on fire, sans the one I live in (fingers crossed).
The fires will eventually come to an end and the last flame will be put out thanks to all the wonderful firefighters who give of themselves so selfishly. I think they too must certainly love this city to put themselves at such great risk to save her. So many lives will be forever changed. Memories of a lifetime taken from them. Their homes, their sanctuary. If you can’t feel safe in your own home, where then? A house is just a house but it’s the family inside that makes it a home, creates those everlasting memories. Many will find no homes to return to and even more tragically many will have lost their family pets who perished. Making it even worse, it’s the holidays… I can’t imagine the horrific pain and loss they will go through but I am confident in my city that we will all put together just as we always to do be there and help in any and every way we possibly can.
But I also wonder about the long term effects that many will suffer from this disaster. Reflecting back on my own life to the 1972 Sylmar earthquake, when I was just 9 years old. I was in the middle of having breakfast when the quake hit. It was years before I would drink orange juice or eat banana’s without getting sick to my stomach. Numerous people have shared their stories about the emotional effects from the 1994 quake. I wasn’t here for it but I definitely remember the Whittier quake. Even two weeks after, my knees would buckle every time a large truck drove by. My body on standby just in case another one came. We may joke that we don’t feel quakes under 5 but when the 5s come we don’t joke around. I’ve worn PJs to bed ever since that quake just in the off chance another one happens in the wee hours of the morning. You’ll find I’m not the only native CA that sleeps in PJs because of that. I also realized a few years ago that I really don’t put things on the walls. I never did in my house in Texas. Looking back I wonder if it was for knowing that I never wanted to set down roots in Texas permanently as the walls being bare were my holding out for that… or was it fear because as a child I had lost so many precious childhood memories in the Sylmar quake? I don’t know but it makes you wonder about the long-term effects this devastation and all the other natural and man-made destructions that occur every day around the world. Men and women who serve in the war have PTSD, what about all those who also experience major traumatic events? Makes you think…
I live in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, for now our mountains have been saved, having had our own major fire just a couple of years ago. This year with the rains there is finally vegetation coming back and the bears and puma’s and bobcats have found their way back down our mountain. Nature has come back and it makes me happy. This morning though I heard a loud chopper over the mountains behind my house and felt that familiar quiver in my knees. Please no… don’t let it be. Shortly after I heard the firetrucks and my heart started racing… I pray this too won’t be the new norm.
Keep my beautiful city in your hearts and prayers and her people too.