Heartsick

I awoke this morning, turned on the computer, and was immediately met with this news:

Evacuations were ordered for all of Boulder Creek, including neighborhoods around Big Basin Redwoods, California’s oldest state park, as well as surrounding areas. Some 5,000 people live in Boulder Creek, a community high in the Santa Cruz mountains. The many windy, long, forested roads, some paved, some dirt, can easily become blocked during storms or fires. The orders specify which direction particular neighborhoods need to go to safely get out.

This is where I lived for 14 years before I moved to Mexico and as I check out the Facebook of various friends still living in and around that area, I read messages that friends in Bonny Doon fear the fires are too spread out and there are too few people fighting them for their house to survive. Another friend tells of spending the night in their car in a parking lot in Scotts Valley, along with numerous other Boulder Creek residents.

Boulder Creek is an old lumbering town with its residents spread out in the Redwood-covered mountains around the town. Its roads are small and twisty, many of them dirt or gravel, and evacuation in a dire situation would not be easy. Our two acres contained over a hundred hundred-year-old redwoods and the mountains around us were covered with tens of thousands more. In storms, when just one tree fell, roads could be blocked for a day or more.

For years, as I see the devastation of fires in CA, although I am not a praying woman, I have uttered little prayers for Boulder Creek. I am doing so now. I hope first of all that friends are safe, but I also hope this beautiful little village of 5,000 is safe—the old buildings, the galleries and restaurants and stores that have a charm that could not be duplicated by new construction.  I hope my former home–completely constructed of redwood, including interior walls, floors, cabinets, and even the shower stall, its huge decks hanging off the side of the mountain with giant redwoods growing through them, my paper studio high above the mountain slope with a redwood tree growing through it—I hope that they, too, are safe, along with the homes of my many friends there. I hope the art center that we worked so hard to build up and maintain and that friends have gone on supporting and working for for the 19 years I’ve been gone is safe. And the animals and the redwoods and those who battle the fires.

2020 has been a year that will probably stand out for most of us as the most traumatic year of our lives, in spite of personal tragedies that might have superseded it in personal significance earlier. But this year, it seems the entire world faces the same possibly surmountable problem. The way to surmount it is to take care of Mother Earth. If she does not survive–if we meddle too deeply into her natural processes, she will strike back. It has happened again and again when species exceed their natural numbers or their rightful place. If we don’t learn how to manage our lives to stem climate change, we will all be suffering the fates of those locked in the thralls of fire or hurricanes or drought or flood or tornadoes or unseasonal snows or pandemics.

In the face of these increasingly unnatural disasters, time and time again, because of their magnitude, we feel powerless. But we are not powerless. Right now we can do what we must to find leaders and legislators who realize the importance of climate change and the dignity of all human beings. We can vote and we must vote and then we must support the decisions of sane men and informed scientists who can tell us what to do to change this trend of mankind’s annihilation. If you’ve never voted before, this is the time to vote and to vote right. The decision is not a political one. It is a rational one. It is not a matter of pride or “being right” or getting even. It is not a football or soccer game. We need to all be on the same side–the side of our Earth and the human race and the entire natural order.

We are not powerless. We have just been misdirected. We need to VOTE and vote wisely.

To show you the magnitude of the problem concerning fire in Boulder Creek, this is the house we owned  and lived in for 14 years. It was built up on stilts on the side of the mountain and it was surrounded by huge redwood trees that came right up to the house, even through the deck in places. We were at the end of a road that fed into a twisting double-laned shoulderless road that wound down the the mountain. The entire area was this dense with redwood trees. The first photo is a view from our deck. The second is the view down to the treehouse Bob built for the kids. The third is looking up at the house from the only flat piece of ground on the two-acre property. It was where I planted my garden and built fish ponds. We also planted bamboo all around that little ornamental garden. As you can see, once fire took hold, there would be no chance of saving it.

I want to tack Janet Water’s wonderful comment onto the end of this blog. I’ve taken the oath. I hope you do, too: 

Responding to your plea to vote, I thought you might enjoy the following one-sentence commitment quoted today from the Tom Friedman of the NY Times: “Personally, I will walk, I will jog, I will skip, I will crawl, I will slither, I will bike, I will hike, I will hitchhike, I will drive, I will ride, I will run, I will fly, I will roll, I will be rolled, I will be carried, I will trek, I will train, I will trot, I will truck, I will strut, I will float, I will boat, I will ramble, I will amble, I will march, I will bus, I will taxi, I will Uber, Lyft, scooter, skateboard or motorcycle — and I will wear a face mask, a face shield, gloves, goggles, a hazmat suit, a spacesuit or a wet suit — but I damn well will get to my neighborhood polling station to see that my vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is cast and counted.”
Thanks, Janet.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized on by .

About lifelessons

My blog, which started out to be about overcoming grief, quickly grew into a blog about celebrating life. I post daily: poems, photographs, essays or stories. I've lived in countries all around the globe but have finally come to rest in Mexico, where I've lived since 2001. My books may be found on Amazon in Kindle and print format, my art in local Ajijic galleries. Hope to see you at my blog.

26 thoughts on “Heartsick

  1. Patty Richardson

    So awful! So very sad! That is an amazing treehouse!!!! Wow!!!! Beautiful photos!
    Hard to believe the destruction caused by the fires! I agree…climate change must be addressed, but will never be…. as long as we have this current administration. We have to vote them OUT!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. slmret

    Oh, Judy — I’m so saddened to read this news. The Santa Cruz mountains and their redwoods are among the most beautiful parts of this wonderful State, and it’s shocking to see them in such trauma. I hope your house and the Boulder Creek area survive this onslaught. I, too, awoke to the news of a complex of 7 or 8 lightning-caused fires in the Sonoma area which caused evacuations overnight in that area. It’s not September yet — and we’re in day 6 of the worst heat wave in more than a decade. We have two more months to go before there’s hope of rain or substantial cooling. I, too, hope the planet lasts to the end of the year!

    Responding to your plea to vote, I thought you might enjoy the following one-sentence commitment quoted today from the Tom Friedman of the NY Times: “Personally, I will walk, I will jog, I will skip, I will crawl, I will slither, I will bike, I will hike, I will hitchhike, I will drive, I will ride, I will run, I will fly, I will roll, I will be rolled, I will be carried, I will trek, I will train, I will trot, I will truck, I will strut, I will float, I will boat, I will ramble, I will amble, I will march, I will bus, I will taxi, I will Uber, Lyft, scooter, skateboard or motorcycle — and I will wear a face mask, a face shield, gloves, goggles, a hazmat suit, a spacesuit or a wet suit — but I damn well will get to my neighborhood polling station to see that my vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is cast and counted.”

    My love and virtual hugs to you!

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  3. blindzanygirl

    Oh my God Judy. I am so sorry. Wkrds are not enough. But they are all I have. Except love. For you, and for alk of those people affected by this ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Well, lets hope. One friend in Brookdale, a few miles from Boulder Creek, said it looks like the wind may be shifting. He’s staying even though they called for evacuation, saying he thinks the main problem will be sparks so he is keeping the hose ready to put them out. Hope he is right.

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  4. Christine Goodnough

    It’s so sad whenever and wherever fires destroy thousands of acres of forest. Happens up here almost every summer, but usually there are only small isolated communities, so not so many people affected. Also, fir trees grow relatively fast. It’s terrible to think of those redwoods ablaze!
    They say fires are nature’s way of rejuvenating a northern forest — but I don’t think nature needs or wants all the “help” it gets from man. 😦

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  5. Eilene Lyon

    That is terribly sad, Judy. I hope they get it under control and no one gets hurt. We do need to vote for a sane administration. The damages done over the past few years are deep and the scars will remain.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      My friend’s guest cabin on his property burned and he’s not holding out any hopes for his gorgeous big house. He lives in Ben Lomond. All of the towns in the valley now under evacuation commands..All friends I’ve heard of now gone but some of the places they evacuated to are now under evacuation orders. They’ve evacuated the university in Santa Cruz and the Cowell and Big Basin parks are on fire. In addition,I’ve just heard that a friend who lives near me who just had a tumor removed from his intestine also has metastasized to his liver..So sad. Three people lived in the house where he lived three houses away from me One died in Dec., one in March and now Jay’s prospects are not good. This is one bitch of a year.

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. slmret

        Oh, Judy — I’m so sorry to hear about your friend — a friend in Mexico?

        That’s really serious if they had to evacuate the UC — I didn’t realize the fire was that close to the University! And it’s pretty bad when the evacuation centers are also evacuated! I’m sorry to hear that — but happy that you’re far away and safe! Yes — it has been an awful year, but I’m impressed by what I’m hearing at the Convention this week — maybe there’s hope! XOXO Janet

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          1. slmret

            With a couple of months to go, they will be at the angry stage, and it may spur them to vote more than ever before (at least the “suburban housewives!”) — I hope so, anyway!

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