A Fire Journal

Dear Friends,
It is now over a month since the Valley Fire, and we are (perhaps) getting an idea  of what our medium term situation may be.  As you may imagine, the shock, both individual and collective has been enormous. We have also been actively networking in the rest of the county - all in all nearly 1300 homes were destroyed and the community is reeling. In fact, even after a full month there is little sense of return to anything remotely normal - the landscape is blasted, with charred, burned out building sites, any remaining trees being chainsawed along the roadways, the continuing stench of smoke hanging persistently in the air. And winter is coming - the first light rains began this weekend.  We are afraid that today's ash pits (toxic?) will become muddy ash pools and that the barren hillsides will not hold the rains - the danger of mudslides is now the common talk at the local coffee shop in Cobb and at town meetings.

Magdalena and I have, in particular been working (12-18 hours/day since the fire) focusing on helping our community overcome the frantic impulse of each individual to find a personal solution to the crisis and instead to quickly build the collective will and means to act more cooperatively, even communally. Given the long history (35+ years) and depth of our spiritual fellowship, this is not an entirely quixotic impulse!  But it is filled with challenges - practical, personal and interpersonal.