Apocalypse in Paradise

Southern California fires are pretty democratic, they hit the mansions and trailer parks and everything in between with the same cruelty… The current definition of a Californian is still “did or did not escape the fires?”

Brea fires 2008 michele roohani

“Devil winds, hill-hopping infernos, smoked mansions, torched trailers, barren freeways, and brilliant sunsets lingering in low-hanging canopies of burnt dreams.” That’s how Steve Lopez  describes all hell breaking loose in California.

staying cool in california fires

Last year in october I wrote:”wildfires, burning out of control, are continuing to threaten thousands of homes in California. You can’t help but to have this incredible sense of the fragility of everything. As human beings we are wired to think that everything will stay the way it is, safe from sudden and intense changes…” My childhood home burnt down in 1970—my barbie collection got charred along with the rest of the house…

palm trees on fire in california michele roohani

Palm trees help spread fire—I’ve never liked them much—to see an amazing photo essay click here.

yorba linda mansions on fire

It’s amazing how fire spares a house or two in the middle of a whole burnt neighborhood—my friend’s  house in Anaheim hills stayed intact when his neighbor’s got completely destroyed; his daughter, Kimiya, has sent me these pictures of their street:


kimiya khosrovani fires michele roohani 4

kimiya khosrovani fires michele roohani 1

and this one:

kimiya khosrovani fires michele roohani 2

The chimneys are the only things standing in most burnt houses.

sean khosrovani anaheim hills fires 2008 night

To watch a powerful clip from BBC, click here.

diamond bar fires 2008

“Often it takes some calamity to make us live in the present.” Bill Watterson

5 thoughts on “Apocalypse in Paradise

  1. We all live on a knife edge present drifting down this continuum of time. Some natural disasters are in our faces, like wildfires in our backyards, earthquakes in our bridges and mudslides near a meandering road; but the more common disasters are the ones that sideswipe us on an idle Thursday afternoon, changing our lives forever. Whether its crossing a busy street, swimming in the blue waters of a nearby ocean, walking down a dark alley, hearing the buzz of a tiny mosquito, being unaware of an astray clot in our veins, or even cutting vegetables on a wooden cutting board, we all face immeasurable danger at every step of our way. It seems like we live in harmony but a mere inch away from our doom during every living moment. The old Persian poem says:

    “گر نگهدار من آن است که من میدانم،
    شیشه را در بغل سنگ نگه میدارد”

    It describes how glass and rock coexist side by side and in harmony in the same universe. We seem to do the same. We still live long, fruitful lives despite a mere step away from the ledge, a final breath away from this world. So, wildfires get a lot of attention in the media and seem to disturb us more readily than the guy getting shot in the alley, or the freeway accident leaving a couple dead, or the child who dies of leukemia; but at the end, they’re all the same. We seem to care more when the cause is more spectacular; but the end result is the same. Some say the biggest disaster of all is death, for me the biggest disaster is missing the point of living. I hope they stop the fire soon and all its causes.

  2. ‘There can be a knowledge of the devilish, but no belief in it, because there is nothing more devilish than what already exists.’ This is Franz Kafka. The world became so fragile but in the cracks it preserves its supremacy. “The crows maintain that a single crow could destroy heaven. This is beyond doubt, but doesn’t prove anything against heaven, since heaven means, precisely, the impossibility of crows.” This is Kafka again.

  3. “The only constant is change” and “The only thing that matters is now” We have all heard it said a million times, but do we believe it deep down. Expect Change and live in the now. I sure wish it would rain in Los Angeles now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *