These past 24 hours I watched places where significant adolescent memories were made burst into flames. I am a Californian through and through. I am a 5th generation Californian hailing from the Bay area where my Grandfather was one of the first to build hot tubs. With no work experience besides driving tomato trucks, and no college education, he started a million dollar business with hard working hands. My Great Aunt, his sister, was one on a very small list of women during her time to graduate with a Masters degree from Berkeley. It wasn't until I was a teenager I ever drove past Reno, Nevada.
California has everything from sea scapes, (I spent significant time in places like Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Fort Bragg) to snowy mountains (where I lived part of my childhood), country rooted farms, and hippy villages, beach towns, big flashy cities, toting their Hollywood insignia, and desert places (I spent my college age encamped there, wrangling kids from the lake to evening Bible service). Slow food started a movement just below the bay area there. Hippies fanned the flames of protest against a never ending war, gay and lesbian communities felt safer in S.F. (because fearing for your lives should not be a thing), countless immigrants blessed us with their sense of family, and can I say, AMAZING food. CA has been on the cutting edge of progress in many areas, the I.T. community lights up Palo Alto. It is America's bread basket.
Paradise is just one ridge over from where I grew up. It's a small town outside of the only home I had ever known until college. It. Is. Gone. Maybe the biggest fire devastation in CA history. 6,000 + homes, lives forever changed. A place I cruised down a creek saddled neatly in a black inner tube to an ancient covered bridge, one of a kind, no longer with us, sealing memories no fire could ever change. I can blink through this to the other side, but a lot of people are struggling to.
California is on fire. Please pray.