It is only 3:30 in the afternoon, but the clouds have pushed east from the Crest, and it has begun to drizzle in the muffled light. It’s cooler now, down from the high of 65 degrees, and the rain is welcome on too many different levels. I’ve been inside this weekend, distracted by the storm system and the havoc it raised just north of town. I refocused my usual energy to cooking, forwarding messages and links about the fire storm and how to help.
You see, when I first moved here to Bishop in 2007, I was almost completely out of my element. A city and suburb gal, starting over in a tiny town at the foot of the grand escarpment. No more malls, no more fancy restaurants, less opportunities for entertainment on the “culture” side of things. I thought I would miss the Symphony, the shows, the bustle and buzz.
I had been working hard inside my new apartment to unload my boxes, turn the shell into a home, when a knock on my door surprised me. My neighbor, Phil, stood outside, and, with a warm smile, said: “I’ve been watching you work so hard the past few days. I just finished some chicken in my slow cooker: would you like some?”
I hardly had known my neighbors in LA, or made regular eye contact, much less conversed with them.
That isn’t to say I hadn’t known kindness, especially from my friends, but this seemed, well, different.
Disasters hit everywhere, no one is immune. We try to help where we can. But this weekend hit someplace close: where I know people who live there, patients with whom I’ve worked, friends. The fire storm that erupted on Friday and was carried upslope by the dry fuel and devil winds took a tremendous toll. Luckily, no one lost their lives, including the firefighters.
But, as a neighbor, I knew that there was more I could do. So, instead of heading out this weekend, I stayed in, made shopping lists, and got to work.
In the end: I cleaned out my closets and sent three bags of clothes, along with 5 blankets to the Red Cross Site at the Fairgrounds; I cooked up two slow cookers full of chicken chili and brought those, along with 5 loaves of sourdough, to the Red Cross Emergency shelter in Crowley Lake (Community Center); I donated what I could afford to the Bishop Chamber of Commerce GoFundMe account (see link below).
This isn’t a humble-brag: this is just, I hope, giving ideas to people on how they can help.
This is my home. Living here means more than just being closer to the trailheads. I am so proud to see this community, so often torn apart by politics or land-use or whatever drama-of-the-moment, pull together to help as much as they can. I am proud that I could do at least a little bit to help.
And, in the meantime, thank goodness it’s raining outside.
Be kind to each other, send love into the universe. It WILL come back.