Saturday 5 AM: I am back online now it would seem and need to make this brief since I find I have no briefs other than the pair I wear.
Things. Things are gone. Serious things of memory never to be replaced. Things no longer needed and things never needed. And trivial things one needs to get through the day. I no longer have these things. All have gone into the smoke of the world as, in the end, do we all.
Today I have to start to replace the basics. The inventory of needful things and obscure objects is long and spotty. As I said above, no briefs have I. Nor spare socks. Nor toothbrush. Nor corkscrew. Nor any one of a thousand trivial things that form the tools of life and the shell of the self. Nor things like the photograph of my one daughter when she was small enough to rest there along my forearm. Losses one shrugs at and losses that make me weep here in the dawn.
What I do have is the love and the generosity of my cherished friends and readers. It is more wonderful and more widespread than I ever could have imagined. I will be weeks thanking all but my gratitude is deep and abiding.
What I do have is this small unknowing black cat sleeping curled at my side after our ride out of the fire.
What I do have is my mother sleeping quietly in the next room, her breathing soft and low as her life is fine and bright.
What I do have is my mother’s warm and settled apartment she has lived in for nearly 40 years. Others are sleeping in shelters, churches, RVs, and tents.
At the end of things we can, I think, come yet again to know — as we know and forget and know and again forget so many times — that Paradise is not a place that lasts forever here on Earth, but something that exists in the hearts of good people that hold their holy light within and, when that light is called forth, let it shine through.
I see this light shining forth from all here on this small page and all in this small city of Chico here at the top of the great central valley under the dense pall of smoke that falls from the burning ridge above, the smoke that comes, quite literally, from the pyre of Paradise.