I called my husband from HWY 101 and told him I couldn’t see much of Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park fire damage. He reminded me that a freeway is like ‘a river,’ so we only see the ‘banks’ when we drive. I got off the highway and tried to rubberneck and see what was left of my brother–in-law’s neighborhood, where over seven thousand people once lived.
The burnt K-Mart and remains of other buildings are visible along the edge of the freeway. Yellow caution tape runs along for blocks, but such devastation only occurred a matter of weeks ago and is barely visible from the highway.
A guard blockades each street, and won’t let strangers into the area. From a distance it’s clear that everything is toxic and burnt to the ground. Even though Coffey Park was the ‘tail’ of the encompassing Sonoma fire of 2017, its destruction will not be forgotten.
Life goes on and on, despite my family’s entire life vaporizing in a matter of hours. Humans keep going, and hold onto what’s inside our brains, memories, songs, sorrows and all deep emotions. Life doesn’t stop even when we feel like our own lives have vanished.
I remember learning that hard life lesson the day my father killed himself. I asked, why are people still driving around in cars?
There are no answers for random tragedies, so many happen every day. Homes, offices, lives, backyards, barbeques and swimming pools came and went, and time continues.
I certainly don’t have answers. I know my brother in-law and his wife are grateful to be alive. They had less than ten minutes to make it out of their house, and they are still walking on the planet. That is miraculous.
Blessings to everyone affected by fires. Thank you to the first responders and caring people who called their neighbors and woke them up from a sound sleep so they could run for their lives. Thank you for love from sun up to sun down. I am grateful to be able to write about gratitude in such awful circumstances.
For me, gratitude is my bottom line. When life overwhelms me with horror, I practice saying to myself, at least it wasn’t worse. Life circumstances could be so much worse, all the time. Why stay in that mindset. running around fearful of life’s tragedies?
Choosing positivity isn’t a bad idea. It makes things bearable.