Friday, October 26, 2007

Fire and Perspective in California

It's fire season in southern California. Take a look at this CNN News report:

"Wildfires engulfing huge swaths of Southern California have killed at least 14 people and sent tens of thousands seeking refuge. The state's deadliest blazes in more than a decade raged through areas as far north as Simi Valley in Ventura County, east to San Bernardino County and south to San Diego County -- scorching more than 300,000 acres. Weather forecasts indicate more hot and dry conditions that will mix with the Santa Ana winds and could fan the flames that have reached 100 feet tall in places. President Bush declared Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties major disaster areas Monday, opening the way for federal dollars for governments, businesses and people affected by the fires."

You will probably be interested to note that this report is from October 27, 2003. Yes, sad to say, fires are all too common in this area. It's possible that, once again, this year's disaster may have hit a new record for devastation, but the statistics are not yet in -- many fires are still burning. The most up-to-date information is available at CalFire.

Lives lost, homes and buildings in ashes, acres of land blackened. Here in the city, some twenty-five or thirty miles away from the nearest blaze, the sky has been overcast gray from smoke all week long. A thin layer of ashes settles on cars that are left outside overnight. On at least one day, the sun was red; the moon was red that evening.

There have been numerous interviews with people displaced by the fires, some who hope their homes will be saved, some who already know that hope is futile. As they fled, a few managed to grab special possessions, usually photos or small personal mementos.

There may be an occasional comment about the sad loss of property, but in every case, these people come to the same conclusion. They are grateful to be alive and, without fail, say that everything truly important they have with them: their family members and sometimes a cherished pet.

If you were faced with losing your home because of a natural disaster, you'd undoubtedly feel the same way. But why wait for a disaster? Why not re-evaluate your relationship with your possessions right now? Why not be grateful today for what's truly important in your life.


© 2007 Cynthia Friedlob

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