Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Thoughts on the California Wildfires

This blog would be remiss if I did not mention my concern and sadness for the people of California who are living through these horrifying wildfires. The more I read, the more I see on TV, the more real it becomes. I have to confess, that at the outset of these fires, I heard the reporting on the news about "California wildfires" and I just thought, "Oh, well, they go through that every year". But the more I see and hear about these fires, it becomes clear that they are not an "every year" or even an "ever seen before" occurrence. A newspaper here in MN is now reporting that over a million people have been evacuated. I don't remember ever hearing about anything like that before in my life, except possibly Hurricane Katrina. For anyone interested in up-to-the-minute news on the fires and evacuations, click here.

Then I read this story about the brave rescuers who are trying to save pets and livestock. I couldn't even read it to the end. My first thought was "I can't imagine leaving my animals behind in a situation like this". My pets would be the first and only things I thought to grab. But I have heard so many tales about how people had to just drop everything and go, I suppose you do just that and worry about your pets later. I've never been in that kind of situation, so I have no idea what it's like. Undoubtedly it's something that will affect these people for the rest of their lives, even if their houses escape unscathed, so I'm certainly in no position to second-guess them.

I also saw a comment posted to a news story that said something like this: "Nobody cares about all those rich so-and-so's in Malibu, they've got insurance, let 'em burn". And I was appalled. But I have heard similar things from others as I've discussed these fires, so I know it's not an altogether uncommon sentiment. I just can't believe that anyone would fail to have empathy toward their fellow humans because "they're rich". After all, my family is not "rich" by any stretch of the imagination--I'm not sure many people would even regard our income as "middle class" right now, but I (and my family) am undoubtedly "richer" than quite a number of people. And I have insurance. But the prospect of losing my home, my woods, my neighbors, my heirlooms, my memories, that has absolutely nothing to do with how "rich" I am, it makes me want to cry for these people, whether they are millionaires or the housekeeper that scrubs the toilets. And it makes me want to cry for the people who respond with such cruelty. I hate the thought that I am even walking on the same planet as someone as full of hate as that.

Anyhow, if you are reading this and are of the praying type, maybe adding California into those prayers wouldn't hurt? They're added into mine, for sure.


Megan said...

Hi! I just bloghopped over here from the SD fire blog. I just wanted to tell you that I think you are an amazingly strong and devoted woman who deserves a medal! Most wives in this world would have given up long ago and thrown those wedding vows down the toilet. But you have held on, hoping for a glimpse of the man you married in between your times with "That Guy." I know I would have a hard time trying to make the best of things, as you have been doing. Good luck with everything, I'll add you to my prayers tonight and hope that someday all of your love and devotion will pay off.