The Verdugos are Us

I'm watching our local range of mountains burning.

It brings allot of emotions. Beyond the anxiety of remaining safe, it's sad to see them on fire. To see the chaparral of 50 years push upward in a column of black smoke.

Sad because we are part of them, and they are part of us. Our family. For better or for worse. We are burning.

La Tuna Fire Sept 2017

From my safe perch on Day 1 of the fire, I stared horrified at what was happening.

Our legs collect their trail dust and dirt and mud from every hike. From every mountain bike ride. Our socks and boots bring home burrs and seeds and strands of mustard weed.

The bits of the mountain follow us all the way back to our home. And when they burn, their ash drifts down to our homes once again.

So too, the Verdugos keep parts of us in their folds and crags. The sweat that pours down on those hot climbs. The blood and tears left from scrapes, cuts and other mishaps.

And deep in there too are the hoots and hollers. The laughter and high-five's.  The joyous summits and soothing sunsets viewed from the Friday night spot.
So it goes with all the others out there. All the hikers, climbers and bikers in their local mountains. All intertwined, all as one. Many are burning as well. In Oregon. In Montana. In Washington.

La Tuna Fire Sept 2017

I took the mountain bike out to see if there was anything left. Not from this vantage point.

We are them, they are us. But the fire - although horrific to watch - becomes a gateway to stronger, greener growth with more nutrient soil and stronger roots. A gateway to stronger souls who will rebuild what the fire has taken. That which does not destroy us, makes us stronger. 

Like any healing process, it gets better with time. We'll all get better together, both us and the mountain.


If you'd like to share your comments below, that'd be great.  The comment password is:  life is good


Comments (6) -


Everyone hears about the fire, but they aren't scared because it seems so far, as if it doesn't affect them. But when you live right where it is happening, it is a serious wake up to reality!

By the way, the pictures are awesome!



Good point Elder.  Have compassion for those that are evacuating.  It could be you next time, be it from fire, flood or other disaster.

Glad you like the photos!

Elizabeth O'Keefe
Elizabeth O'Keefe 9/8/2017 2:04:29 PM

It seems like not that long ago that the Verdugos burned west of the Friday night spot.  Did this fire get the pine trees?  Sad to see the destruction.  Thanks for sharing.


Hi Lyz, I could see the pine grove from La Tuna fire road, it looks like the trees survived.  

The Friday night spot is mostly ok, but scorched earth all around.  One of the phone poles burned, snapped and fell into the fenced area, yanking all the electric and support wires all hither and yither.  

A large and curious crowd up there tonight!

Chuck Shanks
Chuck Shanks 9/9/2017 5:07:29 AM

Your fire now my Hurricane, an unfortunate connection. Might have to kayak through the storm surge but hunkered down for the moment.


Good luck, Chuck.  I look forward to hearing that you fared ok after the storm. Keep in touch, let us know.  

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