Tuesday, May 6, 2008

have you experienced a natural disaster?

two weeks ago there were fires in southern california raging out of control. this photo was taken from the main street of a small town called sierra madre, ca. the town is next door to the town of pasadena where i was born. i have relatives living throughout the area..this photo was sent to me by an uncle who lives just a few blocks from where this was taken..scary and... .oddly..beautiful. the photo is a bit blurry..but was taken from a camera phone....happily, there was damage to only one outbuilding..no homes, businesses..or more importantly..people were hurt. the photo reminded me of the numerous natural disasters i have lived through..and what those experiences do to your psyche. when i was growing up..we lived in the foothills of the san gabriel mountains. really beautiful..but a fire danger most years. southern california experiences something called the "santa ana winds". this usually occurs during september and october each year. the weather is still pretty hot, and when the santa ana's occur the wind blows from east to west. normally it goes the other direction and ..blowing from the west..you get the ocean breezes to help cool things down. the santa ana's are strong, swirling, and blow really hot air. if you are not from southern california it is hard to imagine what this does..but historically fires start, rage out of control and massive damage occurs. i have many memories as a child of watching fires near our house..being on the roof with my dad hosing it down..smelling the fire and breathing in the bits of burned char swirling around in the hot breezes and preparing to evacuate... a number of times we were ordered to leave..and there was nothing scarier for a kid than to be in the family station wagon with your mom, dad, 2 sisters and the family dog..and whatever possessions would fit..driving away not knowing if your home would be there upon your return. thank god..it always was there..and we were always o.k.

i have lived in california all of my life..this means i have experienced earthquakes..too many to mention..including the 1989 earthquake in san francisco...no damage to our home. our napa farmhouse is located across from the napa river and we dealt with the floods of new year's eve 2005..we live on a corner lot and all three streets flooded and came to the top of the sidewalks..we needed to evacuate..but no water came onto our property.

i wrote a post last week and asked "what are you grateful for?" i was thinking this morning as i looked at the sierra madre photo...of how grateful i am that my family and friends have endured all of these natural disasters safely without any damage to themselves or their properties. we are all o.k... the same is not true for so many people..both in this country and throughout the world. napa farmhouse 1885 supports habitat for humanity...and their efforts to rebuild in the katrina ravaged parts of the gulf coast states..along with other agencies helping others rebuild their lives...my heart breaks for the people of myanmar..and we will do what we can to help..

have you experienced a natural disaster? if so, please share your story.

best,
napa farmhouse 1885™
"live a green life of style™"

9 comments:

heather said...

I have been through 2 major hurricanes growing up. The first was a real hum dinger. We had no water, electricity for almost 3 weeks, so we got out the old pop up camper and tents and went camping in the back yard. It was where I first got to drink coffee and honestly, that experience of living simple really impacted me. I loved to snuggle down in my sleeping bag with my kitty, read books in quietness and spend all day outside hunting for arrow heads under all the downed trees. (School got cancelled for 2 weeks). It was crazy!! My dad worked for the power company and they sent a police escort to get him to and from work. Ah..the good old days!!!

Rose said...

I can't say I have.

Brook said...

I am so happy that your family is o.k.

elizabeth said...

Nope, can't say I have. Thankfully!...we live in a part of the country that doesn't get many natural disasters so I've not had that experience. There have been a few tornados not far away but they've missed us and they also didn't turn out to be as bad as the ones we hear about happening in the middle of the country.

amie said...

Worst thing I can remember is the Ice Storm of 1991. It happened in early March, overnight, when I was in 10th grade. It was very eerie to sit in the dark and listen to the steady beat of the freezing rain on the roof and the cracks and crashes of trees and limbs coming down all around the house. At one point, the huge maple behind our house lost one of its trunks. In the half light of dawn, it looked like a wall of tree falling straight towards my window. We lost power for two weeks, and we couldn't stay in our house because it was too cold. Fortunately, my grandparents (just a few blocks away) had not lost power. So we camped out at their house and didn't need to live out of a shelter. School was only closed for a day or two though, which made the disruption at home annoying. The maple tree survived and was finally cut down just a couple of weeks ago. My dad believes it was at least 100 years old, older than any of the houses around.

amie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I don't know why, but I have heard of people going to Starbucks (as a safe place to evacuate to) during natural disasters. Crazy, huh?

sherri said...

We were in Mt. St. Helen's backyard when it blew up. It really affected our lives for a long time. There was a few inches of ash all over everything for a long time - looked like dirty snow that never would melt. It ruined engines in cars, killed plants, etc. and we were the lucky ones. I can't remember how many but lots of people lost their lives in the blast and the property destruction was massive. Thousands of people suffered serious respiratory problems also. It was pretty amazing to go through something like that. Then there are huge floods in our area with increasing frequency - some of you may have read about the one here in December. It was unbelievably destructive. Flooding has ruined my husband's business which he was a co-owner in - a loss of 5 million dollars in inventory, and flooded my parents house. In this past flood my son and dil were stranded on top of a barn and had to be rescued by boat. Lots of destructive stuff in Washington, but we still stay here - for the beauty I guess.

Anonymous said...

I was evacuated out of my home before dawn for a flood that threatened to sweep my home away. This is bringing it all back...I'm scared!!! But after reading your story, I realized I must face my fears. You're practically a psychologist. Your blogs have a strange calming effect on me, thank you doctor!!!!