“I firmly believe, from what I have seen, that this is the chosen spot of all this earth as far as nature is concerned.”
― Luther Burbank
So said America’s preeminent horticulturist of Sonoma County. It has been a tough day in the chosen spot. Much has burned and much continues to burn. The sudden flames battled through the hills and then spilled out into the Santa Rosa Plain, leaving destruction and tears in its wake. My parents house, the house I grew up in, is ashes. Thankfully my parents are quite well and are in good spirits. I honestly think I am taking it harder than they are, though they no doubt are still in shock to some degree. I certainly am.
The neighborhood I grew up in. My house is just out of frame, across the street from the lot with the red arrow. (Image source unknown)
Sonoma and Napa Counties are my hometown. I love them. I have invested deeply in them over the course of my life. I have hiked them, written about them and been created and shaped by them. They have invested deeply in me. Yet now they hurt and I, and so many others, are hurting too. It has been a rough year for fires.
By the end of the day, I had had enough fire, so I decided to go observe some fire of another kind. Watching the interesting, wispy clouds all day while I paced on the phone, I had already decided to go an imbibe some of Mount Shasta’s beauty at sunset. I was rewarded with beautiful and rather unusual spectacle. As the sun was dropping below the horizon, the mountain – and nothing else – lit up. Gradually, as the light on Mount Shasta faded, the clouds glowed until the sky was aflame. The right kind of flame. Even in the midst of the hurt, it is comforting to know that there is beauty in the world. That it was made and declared good. The hurts will heal. It was a hard day, but ended well. Tomorrow, we can start to pick up the pieces.
The world is showing us some of its terrible harshness lately. Thank you for showing us its beauty too.
Thanks Bruce. I really appreciate that. I had not quite put it into those words in my mind, but that was what I was hoping to do.
I felt your pain.
So sorry for your loss.
Thanks Ian. It’s been an adventure, I can say that! A rough one, but we’ll pull through.
We were stunned by how FAST these fires spread! Horrible news about your parent’s house (and your boyhood home). But very happy your parents made it to safety in time. Dealing the loss and grief will take time…
We have friends in St. Helens we’re still waiting to hear from. But then their power is likely out, so we remain hopeful.
As far as I know, Saint Helena is out of the line of fire, thankfully.
It’s been rough, but we feel really, really fortunate.
I’m so sorry your childhood home is gone. I can’t imagine. I didn’t realize how bad it was up north until this morning, I truely am sorry. I’m glad you were able to find some peace and solitude in the midst of it all.
So sorry for your loss and that of your parents. The Applegate Valley fires came within a mile of our home this summer and we evacuated. But we were the lucky ones. We will watch the sun set on the Red Buttes many, many more times. –Curt
Bub, thank you for the beautiful photos. I heard from my Mom yesterday that your parents were ok. It’s difficult to know the neighborhood so filled with memories is gone, but most important is that everyone got out ok…
Thanks Dana. It is a little shocking to think it is all gone. I am sad to say that your old house was aflame when my parents left theirs. My dad went over to make sure they were all out before he drove away and it was already pretty far gone…
So sorry, Bubba. We love Sonoma county, and have used your book to find hikes down there. I hope your parents find Siskyou county to be a place of refuge and I’m sure they will love being closer to you and your family. We here in Mendocino County have a devestating fire also, and know friends who have lost long time homes. So sad.
Thanks Karen. I appreciate it. My folks will land on their feet here in Siskiyou County quite well. They actually own the house across the street from mine and come up fairly regularly. Compared to everyone else in their neighborhood, they are very, very fortunate, since they still have a home to go to.
I know you guys have had an ordeal up there too, probably made all the worse by resources being diverted to Sonoma County. You guys must feel like you are going it alone.
It’s been rough. That said, nature heals and it is part of the better side of human nature to rebuild. I just hope everyone stays safe!
How awful, but wonderful that your parents are well. My prayers to you and yours in this wrenching transition.
-A moron lurker
Man, I really appreciate your dropping a line and saying that. It’s been a rough few days but over all, we are pretty blessed.
For what it is worth, as far as I know, you are the first member of the horde to ever visit my little corner of the internet! Thanks!
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