I'm Alive!

I have one question: where are the locusts? Seriously. We've had a flood, ants, mice, they discontinued my favorite creamer (CoffeeMate Chocolate Raspberry where are you?), and now fires.

Fires have literally formed a ring around southern California. And there is nothing funny about fire. There is nothing funny about the absolute devastation that has been unfolding over the last five days.

Ash covers our cars even though they're parked in the garage.

Our schools have been closed.

We have headaches and coughs and bloody noses and asthma attacks.

Our entire city looks like it's blanketed in fog, when really it's been overtaken by smoke.

Not fog.

Ash floats through the air like snowflakes - pieces of people's lives. As I wipe it off my tub and kitchen counters and out of Savannah's hair, I wonder: is this someone's wedding dress? Baby book? Vacation photo? Entire lives settle on the ground around us. Memories reduced to nothing but dust we wipe into the garbage.

We are not in any immediate danger, though.

My mom lives one mile from one of the biggest fires. She had her bags packed for two days ready to evacuate at a moment's notice. Fortunately, that fire has been contained and their air is starting to clear.

We have friends who have evacuated. We know of people who lost their homes. You can actually see flames on the horizon from the upstairs windows of one of our neighbors.

But, again, I am grateful. We are safe.

What scares me the most is what all of this devastation is going to look like when this is over. How long will it take for our beautiful coastline to recover? How long will it take for our communities to recover?

I appreciate all of your concerned emails and I apologize I didn't let you know how we were doing earlier. Our status is officially: shaken, but not stirred.


Anonymous said...

So glad to know you're o.k. and I also want to say I soooo love the way you write.

Amy said...

Glad you and your family are safe. I can't imagine how scary that must be.

Butrfly Garden said...

Yesterday, I finally got on MSNBC's map and tried to pinpoint who, exactly, was being displaced. Thankfully, no bloggers I know have been affected yet. I am so glad my family doesn't live there anymore. I'd be a wreck worrying about them.

It really is terrible what's going on out there. I can't imagine losing everything like that. But in the end, hopefully the most that is lost is possessions. It makes me so sad that people have died from this. All those things - baby books, wedding dresses - they all hold so much meaning - but none are as important as a life.

I feel for you hon. I know you're not getting the worst of it, but I just. can't. imagine. what it would be like to see that devestation going on out your window.

Liz said...

Glad to hear that both you and your family are OK.

How scary. I really can't find the words.

Patricia said...

Oh, thank goodness. I'd been kind of obsessively checking for updates from you.

jen from boston said...

Another obsessive checker/refresher to see if you're okay.

So relieved to hear you are.

It's unreal. I really have no words other than that.


Shawna said...

I know exactly what you are feeling, Lena. It's heartbreaking to see what's happening around us. We lived here several years ago when Laguna Beach was burning and a large fire was also burning off the Ortega Hwy. My husband and I stood on a hilltop near our home, watched one fire, while knowing the other was burning over a hill behind us. It was such an unnerving feeling. You knew then, as you know now, so much is being lost and yet they are just things. The old memories are never really gone, just the things that symbolized them. Homes will be rebuilt, new pictures taken and new memories made. I can look at Laguna now at see the proof of that.

We have friends in Rancho Bernardo that were evacuated and came back to find the hopscotch damage of one house burned to the foundation but the next two still standing as if nothing happened. People will have to begin again, but look at how wonderfully things are being handled at the evacuation centers. There are alot of wonderful people offering support to those who need it most. Okay, I'll quit rambling. Sorry, you can tell it hits home.

Lena, by the way, you forgot to include termites in your original list. They've been swarming by my house....

Laural Dawn said...

I didn't e-mail you, but I was wondering if you were okay.
I'm glad to hear that you are okay, but it just sounds so scary.

supertiff said...

i guess i'll go ahead and finally delurk to say: thank goodness! i've been checking a few times a day to see if you were alright...i guess this means i have to start commenting now.

dishes and laundry said...

So glad you are safe and okay.
My kids see the reports on the news and we've had some talks about what people have been having to do - leaving their homes, etc.
Our thoughts are with you.

Kathy said...

Glad to hear you're safe!

iheartchocolate said...

Glad you are okay too.

Stay safe, hold your family.

Marcia said...

I've been so worried about you! My aunt (who I was visiting when we had those drinks) has evacuated, and been allowed back, twice. So crazy. Stay safe!!

b said...

Glad you are doing as well as can be expected. We are connected to the area through family. So sad that peoples HOMES are gone. Heartbreaking. God bless.

Lena said...

Shawna - Termites?? Wha...?!

Linsey said...

So glad your okay!!!! It is all so terrible.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you're okay! I never thought of the ash that way, and awful as it is, your way of putting it was so beautiful.

mpotter said...

what a gift you have for being able to write so poignantly on such a horrific topic!!

i still think we shoulda bottled the flood water in new orleans and get it to the fires. and whatever's left should come down here for the drought. just fill up the lakes w/ it.

glad y'all are ok.
i hope that continues.
thanks for posting.

Kristin said...

Has Savannah been off school... cuz having the boys home is driving me CRAZY... here children, play in the house... nope, no skateboarding, swimming or even dog walking... stay in!


Lena said...

Yes, no outside play makes for a VERY bored girl.

...with a very bored daughter. Ha!

Mimi said...

I'm glad you are OK. My in-laws are in Irvine, so I've been kept pretty up to date...can't imagine what it's like...

Heather, Queen of Shake-Shake said...

It's so very hard to watch this sort of thing happen around you. We went through Katrina and the feelings you have when you see this going on all around you....hard to put into words. You did a great job!

I'm glad you and yours are ok!

dcrmom said...

Lena, I'm so glad to hear something from you. What an utter horror. I'm so sorry for what you're going through and thankful that you and your family are safe.

Jackie said...

So glad that you are safe.

Bobealia... said...

I'm glad you are ok.

Some Girl said...

I understand the devastating feelings of loss and the guilt that come with being one of the "OK" families - I live in New Orleans, and didn't lose my home.

Your post was the most moving piece I've read on the CA wildfires. Thanks for the perspective.

sweetney said...

so glad you're safe. stay safe, okay?

and also: miss you lots, lady. (sniff)

Uncommon Blonde said...

Isn't it weird how something so all consuming can be happening and the rest of the country is going about life as usual? I always feel that way when we are dealing with hurricanes here in Florida. It feels like life is hanging in the balance but we're just a blip on the Today Show. Glad you are okay

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Krista said...

I am just so so glad you are all okay! I hope that 2008 is YOUR YEAR Lena!

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