It seems inappropriate to write about homeownership, the pros, cons, ups and downs when so many Southern Californians are being displaced from their own homes as I write. Personally, the notion of losing my home is a terrifying prospect; the abolition of memories, personal keepsakes, a lifetime of possessions.
I remember as a seven year old living in Pasadena, CA, watching the fires burn across the ridge along the far edge of the valley, a vivid image which remains with me to this day. Our home was never in jeopardy, though I do recall tanker planes flying so perilously close to our chimney stack as to virtually nick it on approach to their water drops.
Perhaps, we will begin to learn from these repeated catastrophes that building tract home developments at edges of our wilderness bears a price heavier than we intend or are willing to shoulder. It is our genentic imprint to want to convene with nature, find solace in the quiet, be in awe of majestic horizons. In doing so, we confront our environment in all of its fickle power. Whether brush fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis or other calamitous events, where a void is created, new homes ultimately return as will be the case with so many communities this time, too.
Regardless, I know so much of what is lost may never be replaced. My hopes and prayers are with those who will have to rebuild their lives and houses, one board at time. There can be no heavier burden.