the reality...

La Mirada Travel Blog

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A typical day, it began; A little coffee, a little cream... I sit on my couch.

As I am staring straight ahead, through our sliding glass door to our backyard, I watch three of my roommates as they bounce on our trampoline. Except something seems to be different with this picture--- no smiles, no laughing--- only three stoic figures, all facing the same direction, bouncing higher and higher, as if out of necessity. Wondering what had stolen their trampoline-ing joy, I curiously stepped through the sliding glass door.

Before I even had the opportunity to ask them what they were looking at, my eyes answered the question for me. Two huge black clouds loomed in the distance, with helicopters fiercely ducking in and out of the smoke---  I felt the wind push me backward, and realized the path of the fire was headed exactly in my direction.

As the reality of this moment sunk in, we quickly began discussing what our plan of action would be if we were to be evacuated. A few minutes later, a friend called asking us what she should do--- she was in Yorba Linda and the houses around here were starting to burn. We advised her to take the three boys she was watching for the weekend to her apartment in Redondo Beach, and luckily they made it out safely. We are still not sure if the house is as fortunate.

As we continued to discuss our course of action, my phone rang. It was one of my good friends telling me to come stand on his roof and watch the fires. A quick drive later, and I was standing on top of his roof with all of his roommates. From here, we could see the flames. I looked around myself and realized that we were not the only people in the neighborhood on our roofs. Others were hosing down their roofs, and trimming back bushes, hoping to protect their homes if the fire continued to grow. My friends had driven, earlier, toward the flames, hoping to see what was going on. They found themselves driving through a neighborhood, seeing nothing but black. A firefighter quickly intercepted them frantically telling them to turn around. For them, this is when the reality of the situation hit them: people were in danger, homes were being destroyed, and firefighters were selflessly risking their lives to control the raging flames. They all spoke regretfully about trying to get so close to this reality, because when they did, they realized they were making someone else’s pain, an amusement.

After setting up a camera to record the growth of the fires, we jumped off the roof and went inside. With a newly created "fire" playlist singing in the back ground--- we discussed where we would go if we too had to evacuate--- all to the tune of Billy Joel.

This day in total was a strange one. It was an ever constant clash between the excitement that an event like this spurs and the reality that we could very easily find ourselves without any material belongs in less than twenty-four hours. I would say that both emotions are fueled by the recognition that we are human--- and everything we store up could very feasibly vanish right before our eyes in one way or another.

As I ate tacos with all of my best friends in the dark of the night, amidst the looming glow of flames only 10 minutes away, I realized that such an event has brought a reality to my life--- that each day I am closer to my end then the day before--- so each day, I must live like I am alive.

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