There are two kinds of people. The “Leavers “and the “Stayers.” I am a stayer. For the week that the fires burned around Ojai, while keeping an eye on the hills and an ear to the phone to let our neighbors know that all was ok for the moment, I kept busy. Busy buying breathing masks that were rumored not to do any good. Busy driving to every mall within 100 miles to get my daughter and I out of smoke so dense you couldn’t see your neighbor’s house. Busy, meeting up with friends who also stayed to compare notes. And busy checking updates on social media. I was strong. I was fine. I was busy.
It has been in the weeks afterwards that I struggle.
Waiting for the falling ash to finally stop, I wondered if I would ever see blue sky again. Trying not to feel guilty at seeing the devastation and yet being entranced by the sculptural beauty of the bare rocks and boulders. Awed at the contrast between blackened hills and deep blue sky.
My palette has temporarily become shades of grey, and black and white and red, I want to resist these colors, these remnants of that week. But instead, I will embrace them.