an everyday hero

A friend of mine from the South used to joke that California was going to fall into the ocean. We “left coasters” couldn’t quite get our priorities straight and were headed toward oblivion.

I learned a lot of other names for my home state from my friend — the “wrong coast” and the “land of fruits and nuts,” to name two — and, after living in the Bay Area for a few years, I have to admit that some of them seem appropriate. There are a lot of crazies in California. And don’t even get me started on politics or the cost of living.

That said, California is still a beautiful state and will always be my “home.” Just as you can’t control the color of your skin, you can’t control where you’re from; California with its wildly good weather, breathtaking scenery, and vibrant diversity is a big part of what has made me, me.
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Big Sur

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Lake Tahoe

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California deserts

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But that’s why it saddens me to hear of the latest outbreak of fires in Southern California. As if we hadn’t been through enough with the devastation in wine country in October, now the entire southern part of the state is on fire. And what’s more? This is becoming NORMAL. California’s “fire season” gets worse every year.

My home state isn’t going to fall into the ocean. It’s going to burn into it.
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The Thomas fire in Ventura, California

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A neighborhood in Santa Rosa after the fires in October

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A video that’s gone viral on Twitter has somewhat restored my faith in humanity, though. There ARE good people left in the world — even in crazy California. Take a look at the clip below.
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Apparently the man was evacuating his home when he saw the rabbit beside the road. He pulled over to try to rescue the animal and declined an interview with reporters afterward, leading many people to now call him a “hero.” I for one found the video heart-warming and would like to think that many of us would have done the same if given the opportunity.

What do you think? Is this man a hero? Or is he nuts? Would you stop by the roadside to save a rabbit?


Note: Since I first saw this video, I’ve seen numerous articles calling this man both a hero and stupid, and blaming him for leaving a litter of rabbit babies to die (if, in fact, that’s why the rabbit was still hanging around). Those calling him stupid or blaming him for his actions are missing the point of his deed entirely. Additionally, if he had the rabbit alone, it and its babies would likely have perished . . . Now, maybe some of you would say this is just Mother Nature “doing her thing.” But seriously, if you saw a rabbit surrounded in flames, wouldn’t you want to help, too?

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Below are a few more recent pictures from the fires. All photos have been taken from the World Wide Web and can be found on any of the major news sources’ websites.

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9 thoughts

  1. A good friend grew up in Ventura County and is familiar with all of the places down there that are now up in flames. Her best friend from back in the day now lives only a couple of blocks from the boundary of the mandatory evacuation zone. This all is so surreal this year. As I said to my friend yesterday, I don’t understand why all of this is happening in one year. Yes, there have been occasional fires that have torn through suburban areas. The infamous Oakland Hills fire is the best example of this. But these kinds of fires are few and far between. And now, we are experiencing a year in which these kinds of devastating fires are occurring everywhere in the State. And why? That’s the mystery to me.

    I know that people blame climate change for this, but there are Santa Ana winds and dry conditions just about every year. And this hasn’t happened before. There have been high wind conditions up north without the mass devastation experienced in Santa Rosa and elsewhere a couple of months ago. It just seems so odd that suddenly this year, all at once, this is happening. It shouldn’t be surprising that it would happen occasionally. We have built and developed and encroached further and further into canyons and ravines and areas that raise the risk. And every fire season, officials warn of the risks. But, wow, what a year of tragedy and devastation.

    • Yes, I know. I didn’t say it in this post, but I certainly don’t remember fires like this in suburban areas when I was a kid. I remember fires in the forests in the Sierra Nevadas. Those were always sad, too, of course, but at least they didn’t involve the loss of thousands of homes and people’s livelihoods. I read a story in the Press Democrat yesterday about a family who lost two homes they owned — one in Santa Rosa and one in Ventura. Unreal.

    • I know. I know… I’m headed to Santa Rosa over the holidays where many of my friends are dealing with the loss of their homes now during the holiday season. We don’t realize how much value we place in little things, like Christmas tree ornaments, until suddenly they are gone.

  2. Like you stated, you can not control where home is. I have always loved California but the stars have not aligned for me to chart a path to actually being a resident there. And you know as a surfer, being a resident there would be top-notch!

    The damage and the pictures of the devastation are almost unearthly. It is deeply sad to see.

    I hope your friends are okay. Loss like this is a long-term loss. People can donate today but rebuilding entire communities takes a long-term effort to bring them back.

    I hope it is sooner than later.

  3. The man saving the rabbit – isn’t it a kind of impulsive reaction? In that situation you don’t start philosophizing about the possible results of your action. No hero, no fool – just a human being.
    I’m so sorry to see the devastation. Very good of you to document it the way you do. I see the beauty of the land, and the catastrophe becomes clearer to me.
    Ellington

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