Monday, December 10, 2007

Destruction and Regrowth

Last month, Southern California was in the national news - again - for our wildfires. The latest
one burned in Malibu where it's mostly the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Thats
very close to where I live by how the crow flies, although in both travel time over mountains
and through the canyons, it might as well be a million miles away. (Except for the smoke factor,
of course, but that's not what this blog is about.) About 35 homes were lost.

Fire is an unavoidable fact where I live. In fact, the ecosystems depend on it. In the hills where
it burns, much of the vegetation only regenerates after a burn. The bark is so oily so that once the bushes
are lit, they are almost impossible to put out. The burn releases the seeds and new foliage is born.

A week ago, Eric & I decided to go to the Gem Show in Santa Monica. Because we needed to stop by his
home first, we decided to take Las Virgines through Malibu Canyon over to the beach to get there. Like
pretty much everyone else not directly affected by the disaster, I had already forgotten about it. But
it was brought back into stark relief as we passed into the burn zone. Miles and miles of charred black
remains. No sign of life. Or was there?

A couple of days before our trip, Los Angeles had experienced the first rainfall of the season. If I

closely at the ground we passed, there was new growth of grass. A sure sign that life
really does go on.

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