This weekend, Cooper and I flew back to California to visit family and friends in Middletown. It was quite hard driving north from the airport, knowing that the place we once knew would be completely different. From the footage, pictures and stories we prepared ourselves for the worst. The trip was very emotional from the very start.
As we pulled into town, the landscape was notably different. Mountainsides and hillsides completely cleared and dusted with ash. Trees, powerlines and fences toppled and crumbled at the base. New posts and repairs stood out like oddities amongst the backdrop of char. It was particularly disturbing and astonishing how random yet selective the destruction was. The patterns of devastation with no rhyme or reason, choosing to level homes and structures while seemingly bypassing others added to the confusion and the shock.
Hearing stories of the first hand accounts as the relived this traumatic event was quite difficult for me, yet seeing them reenact the experience in the most modest terms truly moved me. The bravery and the honor of those who couldn’t evacuate, staying to fight for what the could save really inspired me. It is stories like these that redefine community and friendship.
For those who lost it all, words couldn’t express the sorrow we felt. Nothing could ever prepare you for the conversation that proceeds. A simple “I’m so sorry…” doesn’t do the emotional justice for the feeling within. I realized very fast speaking to those who lost everything, that my feelings of sorrow though share for a brief moment was often met with a powerful optimism and an inspiring strength that I didn’t prepare for. It made me understand that the will from within and the drive to get past was much stronger than any pity. This harvesting of community strength and neighborly love was heard and felt everywhere. From somber conversations of news, updates and logistics came the waves of inspiration and the hope. It was amazing.
We will post more stories and updates… We are now back from our short visit and will process our experience to share with everyone. Thank you for your continual support!
HERE’S HOW TO HELP
- DONATE: We set up a crowd-funding page through YouCaring.com that will be the platform for all donations. Visit YouCaring.com/RBBrebuildmiddletown and make a contribution.
- SHARE: Please share our donation link and our story using the links below.