Friday, May 23, 2008
Corralitos (literally "little Corral) isn't usually in the news, so when my nephew said to my sister "Corralitos is on fire" while watching the news, she was shocked. I was oblivious to the"Summit Fire" igniting and spreading in Santa Cruz until my other sister called me on my way to work. Since 5:30 in the mornint, the fire had been marching through the Santa Cruz mountains, just a couple of miles away from where my brother lives in the house in which we all grew up. The rural area (less rural, mind you, than it was when we were little), is rife with redwood trees, coastal scrub and patches of grassland. I couldn't quite fathom that a huge fire was raging in May (god only knows how dry it's going to be in July), nor could I wrap my head around that my family and friends where in very real danger. And so worry, that no-good emotion, as well as a flood of other feelings and memories, began. I kept up with the news at my desk in downtown San Francisco, glad that some of the social media tools (Twitter, namely) were employed to good effect in pointing to helpful news feeds and photos, but frustrated all the same, as I read about people walking horses and pets down the road, and telling my brother to leave rather that stay when he explained being both scared and territorial.
He'd called mid-day to tell me he was alright...and that he'd just walked back to the house in the middle of his work day, having left his truck at the market where the fire officials had closed the road and media had set up HQ. Fortunately, the neighbors were home as well, and they were all watching out for one another (plus they had a car there).
He was realizing how much he loved his home. Long-time friend Sally, who lives another mile away, was packing up her car along with her husband, her child and pets, to stay with family members elsewhere, while the fire ran its course (it's still running as I write this).
You realize how much you love people when you're faced with a natural disaster. You also realize how small you are.