After the fires

The local birds seem to think our yard is a good place to visit while the last bits of fire and smoke die down, and they’ve come through in flocks as well as individually. At one moment this morning they seemed to be throwing a bird party in our side yard. I stepped outside and saw four or five hummingbirds, a flock of common bushtits (which don’t normally show themselves in the open), a sparrow, something else I couldn’t identify hopping around in the bougainvillea, and a mockingbird displaying the white of its wings and singing its heart out. All this in the space of a minute while I just watched, mesmerized by their activity. We normally don’t get so many at once, though we feed hummingbirds and scrub jays regularly. I suppose some may have been displaced by the fires.

There’s still a lot of smoke in the air, but it’s great to be home. I keep wanting to post some of my thoughts and even a little critique regarding the evacuations and information channels, but it feels so good just to be home after being away for four days last week, and I’m thrilled with how much was saved. I don’t want to seem in any way critical of the people responsible for that. Suffice to say, if you’re a local government official, the more information you can feed evacuees (in as many languages as needed please, for everyone’s safety), and the faster you can get them home after the danger is past, the more willing people will be to evacuate in the future. It may seem that some people are hard cases about evacuating, but I think most who seem that way have their reasons. We have a natural homing instinct that makes it very difficult, particularly added to the stress of a disaster, to be away from one’s home, to feel that one can possibly know enough about what’s happening there. One wants to do something, and it’s difficult to relinquish control.

My husband, dog, and I were blessed to be able to stay with loving family members who put up with our stressed-out state of mind, and we were blessed again to come home and find our house still standing, in fact our entire neighborhood and downtown area untouched except by smoke. There’d been no looting — not that anyone would want my old things anyway — and the power hadn’t even gone out, so our minor fear that we’d have to restock our freezer turned out to be unfounded. Today the smoke still lingers, and the dry weather and heat keep everyone on alert, in the knowledge the fires are contained but not necessarily out. We’re cautious yet immensely grateful.

Many thanks to all our firefighters, and to all the visiting firefighters, including those from out of state and Canada, who came through to help save lives and homes, as well as to all the other officials and support people who worked so hard to ensure things went smoothly here in San Diego County.

2 comments on “After the fires

  1. Marion says:

    I’m glad you’ve come through this disaster safe and sound, Barbara. What a terrible time your community has had. My thoughts are with you all.

  2. Barbara says:

    Marion — The news made it appear even worse than it was. Still, they were devastating fires for many people, and for the avocado groves in our area — and an entire mobile home park where a friend of mine used to live near here. Our house was at least three miles, perhaps more, from the nearest burn, except for one or two houses that fell victim to embers blown on the wind. The only real change for us, once we got home, is that we have more birds in our yard, bees too, I think, perhaps displaced by the fires. (I rarely mind more birds and bees, so I am very lucky.)