May 9, 2009

Perspective Plus

Once again Mother Nature has intervened to add a new perspective to our lives here in Santa Barbara. The third wildfire in the past nine months erupted this week, exploding across our beautiful canyons and foothills. The power of the fire has been simultaneously horrifying and mesmerizing. These pictures of Friday morning's sunrise were taken after an upsurge in the size and force of the fire on Thursday night.

I've been addicted to the local news station and the live reports from correspondents on site. It's really sensory overload because I can see, from the safety of the backyard, a distant view of the pictures that are being shown on T.V. It's sickening, yet very compelling...almost addictive. I stayed up late, afraid to go to bed for fear that an area closer to us would suddenly explode into flames. The high heat and the powerful winds made any scenario a possibility.

Today brought good news. They announced this morning that there is some containment of the Jesusita Fire, and that certain residents are now able to go back to their homes. Those who return to houses on streets where neighbors' homes have been destroyed must wonder why they were so fortunate. Many of these individuals have experienced the threat of multiple fires this year.

The underlying question is "why." Fires and loss are not the price we have to pay for living in this paradise. I don't understand the cosmic reasons for these events, but the lesson I take away from them is to focus every day on what is truly important.

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