The next day, he came home to us, in the Bay Area, with only his truck, computer, sleeping roll, and the clothes on his back.
After a week and two days of limbo, we now have confirmation that his house is destroyed. The fire service posted a photo online. Other than a few deformed metal furnishings--the stove, the desk, the fireplace insert (and chimney)--not much is recognizable. Yet the layout is still there. We see the house still--in our hearts and minds.
Here it is, nearly Thanksgiving. And we ARE thankful! Over 70 Paradise residents (and possibly many more) lost their lives under tragic circumstances.
My brother came home!
Out of the ashes, inspiration?
I don't yet know if anything inspiring will come from the ashes of the Paradise disaster. But I'm searching, and I'm hopeful. And since picture books are the playground of hope, tonight I'm turning to Out of the Woods by Rebecca Bond, for solace.
Out of the Woods is the true story of a little boy (the author's grandfather) living in his mother's big, busy, raucous, riotous sportsman's hotel beside a lake in Ontario, Canada in 1914. It's a story of history. A story of childhood memories and fascinations. And a story of a devastating forest fire that drove every living thing--human and animal alike--into the lake for a long, dark day and night while the fire raged. With images of hunter and moose standing shoulder to shoulder, knee-high in water, Out of the Woods is ultimately a story of coexistence and of setting aside differences in the face of disaster.
My heart goes out to all the residents of Paradise. So much was lost. But I hope every survivor finds solace and inspiration in the fact that they are whole and safe--and out of the woods.