Mr. Adventure Rich and I woke up Tuesday morning to news flashes that there were several fires in southern California. Sourthern Californa has plenty of wide, open expanses of farmland, forest, and unihabited brush and we initially thought that these were just a few more “normal brushfires”…. you know, the kind the local hand crews can extinguish within a few hours, maybe a few days at most with little threat to structures and property. We were so wrong.
As we sat on the couch scanning news articles and local southern CA sites, we quickly realized that these were explosive and fast-moving fires fanned by strong, dry Santa Ana winds. The next few hours were filled with anxious anticipation until a reasonable hour (Pacific time) when we began to text our dear friends in the area to see how they were doing. The responses came quickly…
“We are ok, evacuated and away from the fires, but we don’t know if we will have anything to come home to.”
Our Other Home
Over the past few days, Mr. Adventure Rich and I followed the progress of the fires with a mix of horror and disbelief. It was surreal sitting here in Michigan, following the news updates citing landmarks and cross-streets that used to be “just down the road” but knowing that they were now thousands of miles away. While we are incredibly grateful we are safe and far from danger, we are also horrified to know that the community we love is undergoing so much suffering.
When the fires were the most erratic and devastating (Tuesday and Wednesday), I felt for the first time a homesickness for California. I grew up here in Michigan and I have no regrets with our decision to settle here. But this week, I wanted to be in California. I wanted to be with the community that gave me so much during my years there. I wanted to drive down to an evacutation center to help out in any way I could. I wanted to hug my friends and bring a meal to those we know who have lost everything. I wanted to be home… my other home.
Sourthern CA is not out of immediate danger. Fires still rage and people are still in extreme distress. And in many ways, the hardest part may be yet to come as efforts to rebuild begin over the next few weeks. But I have hope. I have so much hope for southern California. It is a strong, resilient community.
During this holiday season, let us all remember to be grateful for the incredible gifts we have been given. Right now, I am so thankful to know that our former community members and friends are safe. I am grateful for the heroic efforts of the firefighters, first responders, neighbors, and strangers who banded together to protect the community.
And I am so grateful that, despite being miles away, I can do something. I can donate to the many organizations providing relief to those affected and displaced, I can donate to the specific families we know who lost homes, and I can pray for the continued safety and recovery of the community we love.
California, you are my second home and you are in my heart.
Always an Adventure,
Mrs. Adventure Rich
If you are interested in donating to help those in need in sourthern California, here are a few helpful links.