Fire

I

The leaves rustle gently at first,

barely moving in the otherwise stagnant air.

But the wind comes, and will come again. 

Every year.

II

It’s eerily warm when

the hearty Santa Ana winds,

the december gusts, come 

to breathe full of life

limbs of dry straw.

Shrubbery sings with that transient weight;

shrubbery that won’t be here tomorrow.

III

Before the door could be closed

a delicate leaf let itself in.

Frail, yellow, brittle.

Winter boots shatter it; 

the shards driven into

the green carpet.

IV

Autumn came when no one was looking, quiet and still, 

but Winter knocked on the door.

Warm winds; loose leaves;

oak and sycamore;

helpless faces;

unpacked clothes strewn, full of life,

on the floor.

V

Fires often blow through on winds like these,

—the threat, toothsome and tangible—

but even as the wind whips

and the sparse clouds hurry across the sky,

cruel circumstance sits suspended in hot heavy air.

VI

Heavy walls went like cardboard 

big weight bearing beams became matchsticks

that snap between fat flaming fingers

recollection ripped out of picture frames

folders full of ash

crumpled filing cabinets

and melted metal memories 

a world engulfed

in wind

in the night

in warm welling eyes

in the sweltering night.

VII

Gnawing on the bones

baying at the hunt

howling in the wind

a hound of three heads sicced 

uncontrollable 

delighting in the chaos 

in pandemonium’s wild embrace.

VIII

silence settled,

the land rested.

no fireman’s boots,

no tennis shoes,

no cars,

no buildings,

no birds.

Just cold black earth,

warm embers,

warm breeze.

IX

Green growth sparsely populates the scorched earth.

Grasses, gaining ground.

But deep in the center the blackness still sits.

Telling you things are not as they once were,

Succession is a process, aching and raw;

but nothing could be so delicate and pure

as the inkling of new life

among black expanse.

X

These winds will whip 

hearts to attention

for years to come.

From: KPCC

Cremated

Here’s a list of the things I lost to the Thomas Fire:

My guitar, my ukulele, my first drum sticks. My symbols of creativity, my many memories of favorite songs and being so frustrated about my definite lack of talent!

The tapestry I bought last summer at my first music festival, that for some reason smelled like lavender and blown out candles.

My stuffed animals that I’ve had for years, that (call me a child if you want) are so much more than just “things.”

All my drawings. Those hours of concentration and enthusiasm I’ve spent throughout the past years. They probably burned the fastest.

credit: @MattHjourno on twitter

The girl’s dorm lounge, where I remember making my first friendship at this school, where I’ve spent so many hours watching Riverdale, or eating Oreos during the weekends, or working on my horrible piano skills, or watching Finding Nemo for the very first time. Now it looks like none of that has ever happened and for some reason it tears me apart.

I lost my poetry books.

My first love letter.

My band posters and shirts and bracelets and guitar picks and stickers and

my favorite dress.

My window. With my perfect view.

My door key, which now I won’t need cause my door is gone too.

My friends’ rooms with their baby pictures and yearbooks and paintings and Christmas presents and their favorite pair of sandals.

It is hard to believe that this place, the home of so many people I love so dearly, is gone without warning and without mercy.

Here’s a list of what I took with me that day:

The clothes I was wearing, and my favorite necklace. A baby picture of my siblings and me (just in case). My laptop and my backpack.

But I had no idea that everything that was left back would go up in flames within a couple hours. I thought I would come back the next day to my room with my guitar and my tapestry and my window and my posters and that everything would be fine and that our biggest problem would be the final exams we were going to have to take the next week. I wish I would’ve taken more, I wish I could’ve taken the entire dorm.

credit: ovs.org

But here’s another thing that all of OVS brought.

We brought our strength and our community and care and love amongst us. We didn’t forget our incredible OVS spirit, and to be honest I don’t think we would ever be able to forget that.