Way Out West

June 2017. There's a fire in Burbank, several hundred miles north of us here at Dorland but I saw the definitive black cloud early this afternoon. This evening, at dusk, the cloud has become an all-encompassing shroud of smog and haze. I can still see the twinkling lights down in the valley, the town of Temecula chugging along as it should. And up here on our mountain, I stand on the porch of the outermost cabin at Dorland and can simultaneously see the sign of tragedy far in the distance and life as usual at my feet. The artists' colony at Dorland is special for many reasons, one being it burned down itself a decade ago and has slowly, with the help of its dedicated community and volunteers built itself back. But it's also special because of its perspective. Fire does its thing here in the West as do people. Not all of what people do is good. A lot of what we do only furthers our own destruction. Yet, I see hope. I see it in the fact that ahead of the smoke stars and the moon are quite visible above Temecula and above my own head. I see hope in the fact that places like this exist and people are willing to go out of their way to build and support it. There might not be any hope in smoke and fire. There is always hope though, once it's done.