≡ Menu

Status: “I got everything I need and nothing that I don’t.”

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:     — Matthew 6:19-21

Having procured an apartment in Chico  — where there are no apartments to be had — has eliminated the first substantial step towards putting my life back on track after losing everything in the destruction of Paradise. But forging a new life from scratch is not a turnkey operation, It is hard and unremitting. My to-do lists have to-do lists and every move made is but a very small step towards a habitable home.

Presently, thanks to the overwhelming generosity of my readers, I am making visible progress towards a habitable home. The small bathroom is finished but the bathroom is always the first room to be finished. The bed has been delivered as has been a large nine-drawer dresser that is, not counting me, the oldest thing in my new apartment.

When trying to forge a new life you look up from a thousand chores and realize that everything in your brand new apartment is also brand new. Everything I own is the same age. Everything has yet to be used. My cutting board has no knife marks on it. My glasses and the plates are all unpacked from that thin old Chinese cardboard and yellowed brittle tape. They sport no fingerprints or chips or scratches. The mid-century modern drawer liners paper is too short and will have to be returned.

I am dogged in my efforts to be able to live in the apartment as soon as possible. My mother and I have had a fascinating time being “roommates” but all good things must pass. It’s time to become “neighbors” with my own apartment about 50 yards from hers.

In both cases, I am conscious that, compared with many whose lives were destroyed and changed, changed utterly, my own situation is as good as one could hope for.

For this, I can thank my mother, whose love has never failed me nor any of her other children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I can also thank my readers who have given me my life back with donations and things from the wishlist and things I didn’t need to have until I needed them.

Right now it is all I can do to keep up with the process and the various elements of recovering and redoing your life after a natural disaster. My personal thanks have to go out to over 900 different true friends. This will take time and many will not, being anonymous, be thanked personally. But I shall, after I am ensconced in my submarine like digs.

It is said that life is a series of lessons; each one of which will be repeated until you learn it. At which point you will be given a new lesson. If that’s true I think that this has sure been a lesson to me about the value of earthly possessions.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • ghostsniper November 27, 2018, 4:17 AM

    “Everything I own is the same age.”

    That’s actually a potentially enviable and thought provoking position to be in.
    To start over again, from scratch.

    That thought will go in the same pigeon hole in my brain where the thought of winning a big lottery lives. I don’t visit that pigeon often as leaving it is painful, so I just don’t go there much and when I do it is brief. Fantasy is always shot down by reality.

  • Christina November 27, 2018, 6:01 AM

    Got chills when I clicked on the video. My husband plays song in the car every Sunday as we are driving to Mass. Didn’t know the name of the band or the song, but love it. I would not ever want to go through what you and the people of Paradise have gone through. I’m extremely cautious of fire after our property caught fire one New Year’s Eve. You all had to go through hell to get out of paradise. I don’t even know yet what that means, but it seems significant. God bless you all.

  • John Condon November 27, 2018, 6:21 AM

    Being that your previous life is but ashes now, it’ll be an adventure to find out which way you will grow and how it will differ from your previous life.

    (*E tutto insieme,tutte le voci, tutte … *)

    Though not everyone gets to live the life of a Jack Pine (Twice now – though in different ways), and its not something you voluntarily would do – as even the ashes of your previous life is dear – but it is after all another chapter, another adventure of this gift of Pure Being.

    (*A gift from you to us; returned to you*)

  • Terry November 27, 2018, 7:31 AM

    When that thing you forgot you need comes to mind, you know where to ask. We need you.

  • Callmelennie November 27, 2018, 8:01 AM

    At some time in the future when you achieve some facsimile of being settled,, you should compile these writings and submit them to a publisher. These are extraordinary essays you’re doing, Gerard. They could be your greatest legacy

  • Rob De Witt November 27, 2018, 8:51 AM


    I agree that this series of essays is book-worthy. We are indeed fortunate to have your reports from the front lines, from inside your mind to ours. In my present circumstances sympathies and prayers are about all I can offer, and you certainly have mine. I had two friends lose their houses last year in the Santa Rosa fires; one was a house he’d built himself 40 years ago, in which they’d raised 4 kids. As I said to him, I can’t imagine losing a life like his – or yours – but I do know what it means to lose everything and start over with nothing. Both of you are to be envied for having family who care about you, even though that daily realization that the thing you’re reaching for isn’t there anymore will forever haunt your days.

    And btw, ghost: starting over again from scratch may seem like a “potentially enviable and thought provoking position to be in,” but in my experience it loses its appeal after a few iterations. It’s kinda romantic when you’re young, less so when age makes its inroads.

  • arcs November 28, 2018, 7:53 AM

    Personal thanks is not always possible, as you note, nor is it always necessary. Your continued sharing of your gift is thanks enough to me.

  • Jerome November 28, 2018, 5:45 PM

    A lot of us are seeing pictures of the Troubles in Paradise, and wondering how the houses burned to the ground and left the trees around them apparently untouched. Any insights on that?