My my my, here we go, déjà vu all over again. For the past few days I've tried to accomplish a brisk pace upon the rodent wheel while mesmerized by the ring of wildfire surrounding the community of Santa Barbara directly to the north.
As I've gone into before, it's a place that's always been very near and dear to me. I live in Ventura (which even on its best days is poor man's Santa Barbara) so there's marathon local news coverage of the disaster, as well as the ominous reminder by the smoke that hugs the horizon.
They're saying that over 30,000 people are evacuated, with another 28,000 on alert to skedaddle when notified. It's hard to wrap the mind around the magnitude. The possibility that a shift in the wind could bring the flames roaring down numerous canyons, and that the entire town may be in its way as it races on its natural path to the ocean is more than surreal.
While my sympathies are entirely with the homeowners snared by the capriciousness of the forces in nature, I also mourn for the other losses that occurred. The other nightmare night when the sundowners roared down Mission Canyon the Botanical Gardens were hit, and I heard the redwood grove is gone. It was more than kind of nice to be able to drive a half hour north and go for a stroll in a redwood grove when I was missing northern California. Gone baby gone. Toast.
So now the city is surrounded by a ring of fire, on the ridges, in the canyons. They say Montecito to the south is vulnerable, and the community of Goleta to the north. As well as the city proper in between.
The news this morning is also stating that the Painted Cave area is vulnerable. As you can see from the picture to the right, the beauty of the area is more than impressive, and it's a sad fucking shame. (If you want a bit of history of Painted Cave, go here.)
Hopefully the unexpected gloom this morning is providing a respite that will have a positive effect before it warms up later in the day and the predicted afternoon winds kick up again.
Meanwhile, let's give a listen to Adam's rendition of a song that just seems to fit:
I'm not usually a jealous - or envious - person. I'm sincere when I compliment someone on something new they've acquired, or somewhere they're going. However, yesterday I'll admit I was pinched a bit by the green-eyed monster.
My son popped in unexpectedly (a somewhat infrequent yet regular occurrence, and no way am I complaining because truth to tell I always love seeing him as well as the fact that he still feels so familiar with me - Mom - that he shows up whenever he pleases). However, I digress. The point was, he showed up because he was in the area on a corporate retreat, and his friends were picking him up on their way to a weekend at the Madonna Inn.
As fabulously kitsch as the Madonna is, I wasn't particularly envious of that, I was envious of the road trip, and the area being visited.
The Central Coast of California is an area I once regularly frequented. My dad retired there, and my youngest sister lived nearby. I made my final familia visit a few years ago, and I've rarely been back, and when that has occurred it's been on a pass-thru basis.
This past summer it was pretty traumatic when my twelve year-old cocker spaniel sustained an injury to her left rear leg, and it was kind of sketchy if she'd get well. It took a lot of nursing and pampering:
But well worth it, as she's now up and running around and almost too spry for a grannie dog that turned thirteen a couple of weeks ago:
The weather is hot, the Santa Anas are blowing, and SoCal is a sheet of flame. The news has footage of current disaster intermingled with "specials" noting the thirty-year anniversary of the mass murder in the name of religion that was the insanity of Jonestown.
Amidst this cacophony of tragedy there existed a strength of purpose born from disappointment and despair. Throughout California on Saturday people gathered at city halls to protest Proposition 8.
(The picture is of a statue of the founder of San Buenaventura,Father Junipero Serra - via the mission era circa 1782, when California was a part of Spain - with the protesters starting to gather in the background in front of Ventura's city hall.)
As I see it, this is the start of a grass-roots movement against inequality. You don't take away your fellow citizen's rights. Period.
Keith Olbermann was marvelously eloquent regarding this (read it here or watch it here - that is if you haven't already, it's all over the internet). And while I can wax eloquent myself now and then in this case I'll simply leave it at this:
As a California native I'm appalled and grieved by the injustice Prop 8 represents. I'll keep joining the fight to repeal this injustice, and although these words are now more than forty years old, well, they seem quite apropos:
The line it is drawn The curse it is cast The slow one now Will later be fast As the present now Will later be past The order is Rapidly fadin' And the first one now Will later be last For the times they are a-changin' -Bob Dylan