Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Neighborhood (Chapter 3)

On the day of the Esparanza Fire, streets in our little neighborhood were void of autos, school busses and even children. No one walked their dogs, no skateboarders, joggers or ice-cream vans graced our lanes. We deserted the village and escaped to our homes inside.

Mountain ranges were lost in the smoke that filled the air for three straigth days. Ashes fell without sound and we wondered what it had all been before they reached our back yard. Hard to breathe it was.

I do not know how the children concentrated on schoolwork but they did their best as they hosted the evacuees at Hemet High.

When night came and the air was a little easier to inhale, we saw the walls of fire climbing up our local mountains. A prayer for all the fire fighters were said in the still of the night. How the loss of their colleagues must have weighed so heavy on their hearts as they continued their duties. The media doesn't seem to have any information of the arsonists at this point.

Days have passed now and white puffy clouds have returned to our skies. It is not its usual blue as yet but the smoke has cleared and it seems that children have returned to playing on our front lawns. And on this night, the dreaded Halloween, only candy is sought.

It is not a "holiday" I agree with (there might have been one demonic visitor not of human origin) but it was a chance to keep the lights on to meet and greet more of our neighbors. Truly, we must know them all by now. I did miss a stroll through Hell House constructed in a local church parking lot, though I'm sure I shall hear all about it in the morrow.

It's a strange new day in our neighborhood. Thanksgiving will mean so much more this year thanks to the firefighters who kept the blaze one step away from us.

click for pictures of the Esparanza Fire:
Breathing Smoke
Sun Through Smoke

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