Into the Fire

When my husband and I moved to Santa Barbara in 2000 to be close to relatives in Southern California we never expected to contend with annual fire danger. Earthquakes? Yes! I was raised in earthquake-ville and know the drills; we’ve got the emergency kit for when and if that day ever hits–but fires?

Kaflooey. We’ve been living through one threat after another these last several years. Right before I began this blog, in May 2009, we had the Jesusita Fire, which just about ignited our entire neighborhood. Many of our friends have lost their homes these last several years in the Tea Fire, the Zaca and Gap fires, and the Painted Cave Fire…

Last Tuesday, driving home along the foothills, I saw the familiar plume of smoke. This is after a similar blaze just the week before, which endangered another part of our foothills. ┬áThe closer I got, the more I knew that this was burning right above my son’s school in Montecito. Emails started pouring in from the emergency agencies, from the school, and helicopters began buzzing overhead, sirens sounded–forces were on the move.

Firefighters! I have come to love and respect these men and women and the work they do for us. Wouldn’t you?!!!

So… the fire bell rang, the men rushed to the foothills at noon and hiked three hours to get to the blaze. They fought that fire all afternoon, all evening, eventually hiking out in the dark, headlamps ablaze. They slept well that night, I think.

And that same night I mixed up some dough for a giant loaf of sourdough. It was an emotional and tiring day with the thought of more property at risk… But the making of the bread kept me busy and by lunch time I had a gorgeous loaf of sourdough ready for giving.

All this to say!

We made a visit to a fire station. Usually, I don’t take photos of folks I give bread to. But Greg, the firefighter on the right, was absolutely beaming with goodwill and gratitude, and stood there holding the bread for so long, and with such joy that I finally pulled out my phone and snapped a shot. He had just returned from many hours in the field and said he was heading straight to the dining hall to break open that bread.

And in my giving I had help. Can’t forget the better two parts of my sharing team…

With the ravages of Sandy still lingering, and two fires in two weeks battled here in my own hometown, I’d like to say thank you to all who are stepping forward to lend a hand, to write a check, to comfort someone in their loss. These efforts are Love.

Sending you all lots of that love, and good cheer!