Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The other side

The freeway is open again after it being closed for 2 weeks.
21 of the 23 missing are accounted for and deceased.
The final two are children, a 2 year old and a 16 year old
The search dogs are still seeking and are still hoping to find them.

It has been a surreal experience to say the least. 
Even as someone on the outer edges of the actual event.
Our towns are small and friendly and everyone knows someone.
I mean EVERYONE knows someone.

I was away from my yoga community for two weeks and it felt like an eternity.
I got a couple emails checking on me and seeing how I was on the other side of the mud
I took the train into work once, as it was allowed through the slide area, but not automobiles.
It was a 12 hour process from start to finish for a 40 mile commute and 6.5 hour workday

I spent most of my time think and hoping that search and rescue would continue to find people.
I also finished some artwork that is opening in a museum show next weekend.
That time was a gift, as I was able to work on it almost uninterrupted and without concern.

A local yoga studio opened last week, and I had purchased around Xmas a pre-opening special pass for a month of unlimited classes. So I was thankful to get into a studio to practice and work my kinks out. My whole body ached, my mind went to dark places way to quickly and I was not sleeping much at all. I was glad to get into the first class this last Friday and then again on Sunday.

I was able to drive to work on Monday and did yoga at my normal studio and it was strange 
(I can not find the right word to describe the new reality).
A lot of the people in class are still evacuated from their homes, and I heard more stories of loss and lives gone and last moments.
It was like having a javelin thrown into my chest over and over again.
My job was to simply listen and hug and listen some more.
I was glad to be among my community, and even though I could feel the pain and sadness it was still nice to be able to be there for people and with people.
A comfort of sorts for my bruised heart.

It has been quite a whirlwind of stress these last couple of months!
Fire and rains and mudslides.

I do feel like as the little sprouts of green start to appear on the hillsides across the street, that things are beginning again, regardless if we are all ready. 
I am thankful for that reminder from Mother Nature, as bittersweet as it is.

I remember when my bruises and puncture wounds began to heal on my body; I was sad that there were no longer external signs of the suffering from infertility. 
Instead it was reminding me to be thankful that my body is still powerful and capable of healing.
 In the same way, our hillsides are starting that same process, of healing themselves again. 
That is to be applauded and admired.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


*****hard read***death****babies***tragic situations*****

that is not a river, that is the freeway 

The fire, which is still not 100% contained, has left nothing on our surrounding mountains, valleys, canyons and roads. There is no habitat and the animals that are found are badly burned or sick.
and if that is not heartbreaking enough...
Monday night we got our first rain, and in one nearby town they got 8 inches of rain in 15 minutes!

It created a large debris flow (topsoil, dead plants and trees, boulders) and mudslide that has destroyed the quiet community and so far resulted in 16 deaths and over two dozen people still missing, hundreds trapped via inaccessible roads on their roofs and many more injured. 
Airlift evacuations and evacuations via military vehicles and personnel are currently taking place. There are search dogs and search and rescue personnel currently looking for survivors and those who have perished.
Some of these people did not heed the mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders, still ruffled from finally being home after being displaced by the fire only a couple of weeks ago; but the majority of them were in a warning area...which is "a be prepared to leave but we are on watch and wait" kind of order. So they were totally taken off guard. The mud slid at 3:30am- I got an emergency flash flood warning on my phone at 3:40am (even though I am not in the area, it went out like an Amber Alert)

There is one main highway that connects my community to this community and that is covered in mud and debris and it stretches for about 30 miles.

The sound of helicopters once again fills the skies and the photographs are too much to bear.
The video footage is constant and it is a race against time to find the missing.
Although we are all spread out, it is a small community where people know people or have visited their shops or restaurants.
The photos of the missing are heartbreaking and when you recognize someone your heart sinks and regardless of your spiritual belief you start hoping for the best.
None of these people deserved this, no one should have to go through this, regardless of choices made; good or bad.

There was a couple interviewed by news agencies yesterday, both in shock, rescued from the roof of their home, transported by military personnel to a safe spot. They were getting onto their roof when the man heard a baby, he found a baby under four feet of mud, cleared the mud from its mouth and it was helicoptered away (it is expected to survive)...he said he didn't know where it came from.
If he had not been evacuating, he could not have saved it.
I was torn into a million pieces seeing this yesterday, as you can imagine.

I am taking care of myself, unable to go to work or yoga class 
I am in the studio making or trying to make art.
Hoping for more survivors and good stories
all to the background hum of helicopters

hug your loved ones
hug your friends
offer a kind word to a stranger
be kind to yourself