October 29, 2003

By Michael Strickland


It seems pointless to write about anything besides the insane wildfires that have consumed much of San Diego County. Kind of like making small talk about the weather on September 12, 2001. Nearly 2,000 homes have been destroyed in the past four days, and more than 300,000 acres of land in San Diego resemble burnt toast. It's the largest fire in California history. Who can talk about anything else?

I've been lucky. About all I've had to do is clean up some of the ash that has fallen from the sky. Others have not been so lucky. My sister and her family had to flee their home on Sunday, after watching flames consume nearby houses in their neighborhood. Their house made it through intact, and they were able to return later in the day. Since then, however, they've been housebound in a home without power, phone or cable service, forced to put wet towels around the doors and windows to keep out smoke that's so thick they can't see the other side of their street. And today, they were put on notice that they might have to evacuate again at a moment's notice.

California is no stranger to natural disasters. We've had other devastating wildfires, we've seen landslides taking down beachfront homes. And of course we had a giant earthquake nearly ten years ago. But each disaster comes as a new shock. We're so used to our perfect climate, so complacent with the ease of our lives in paradise, that we forget just how powerful Mother Nature can be. Residents of other parts of the country deal with hurricanes, floods, snowstorms and much more on a constant, regular basis. They're old pros.

This disaster truly possesses monumental proportions, no doubt about it. But I think its shock value rises several notches because we're so psychologically unused to such destruction. Which perhaps is a good thing.


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year (almost), I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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October Columns:

10/31: Halloween's History
10/30: Good GDP, Still No Jobs
10/29: Disaster
10/27: Ash Monday
10/26: En Fuego
10/25: Diving in the Desert
10/24: Dead Car Canyon
10/23: Reflections
10/21: Le Métro
10/20: Pain
10/17: Jury Duty
10/15: Labor Pains
10/14: The Business of Losing
10/13: Owls and Jobs
10/12: Hooked
10/11: The "S" in SUV
10/9: Flee the City
10/8: Sore Losers
10/5: Turkeys
10/4: It's Not the Economy, Stupid
10/2: Focus
10/1: Twenty Years
Previous months in The Archive

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