Thursday, June 3, 2010

After the Fire: Angeles Forest



The problem with setting up house in god's country is that god can always take the country back again.







I've never wanted anything I couldn't bear to lose. So I don't live in god's country, I just visit.



Thank you to Pasadena Adjacent who grew up in these hills and mountains and showed me around some hidden pieces of past and present. Her pictures would have been far better, but she forgot her camera both times. (Honest to god, she really did.)

44 comments:

  1. What, really; forgetting a camera? I once forgot the memory card at home. Clicked away a bunch of photos into thin air. Did the same thing in the old film days without the film.

    Cool finds. Interesting how the earth reclaims itself. Though it may take a long long time.

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  2. Taking a fourth look at these, I'm thinking this would be the perfect spot to go camping. This is the perfect place to camp cook outdoors.

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  3. The last shot is particularly gorgeous.

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  4. I thought I detected PA's touch...and your idea that you don't hold onto anything you can't bear to lose, you have no idea what that means to me.

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  5. Yes, that last photo in particular is stunning.

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  6. I actually like even more the photo with the blackened tree trunks and the solitary chimney. All those stems.

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  7. A trek into PA's secret places. Wow--she knows them all.

    I wish I had your restraint. I'm afraid I have a few things I can't bear to lose. Maybe "things" isn't the right word. Fingers crossed.

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  8. " I never wanted anything I couldn't bear to lose". Well Missy, I"ll be chewing on that one for a very long time. You have a way my friend.

    And might I add that after I've seen those hills/mountains for myself, I'll watch the wildfires on the news with a vested interest. I'll weep right along with you. The place you call home is indeed God's country, KB.

    PS Your photographs were fine as well.

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  9. PA seems to know every place in the San Gabriels. Is this in Big Tujunga canyon? That's where many houses were lost - they never saw that fire coming down the hillside toward them, but thankfully everyone got out in time. I wish I hadn't loved the scenic canyons and trails so much - Colby Canyon, Switzers, Trail Canyon, Strawberry Peak - because it's still hard to cope with their loss.

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  10. Your post today really struck a cord with me. Unfortunately, I did set up housekeeping in god's country and god is now taking the country back, with a lot of help from BP. The daily news here on the Gulf is not good and I wanted so badly to spend the rest of my days in this beautiful place. And now I truly can't bear to lose it. You are wise to just visit.

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  11. I love the last shot too. Makes you wonder what people 200 years from now might think of the old fireplace if the landscape doesn't devour it.

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  12. If anyone's wondering what I meant in my last remark, crude oil is coming ashore in my area (I live in Pensacola, FL). It's just unbelievable.

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  13. Bayside and Paula, it's unimaginable. All eyes are on the gulf and thoughts with you, not that that seems to do a damn bit of good.

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  14. Bayside, Paula, just so you know--Hiker's right. We think about you and talk about you every day. This is another tragedy for the gulf in a long line of them. What are we going to do?

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  15. "Just visitng" anywhere is probably a good idea. Love your last shot! And thank you for expressing to Bayside and Paula what so many of us feel in our hearts for them.

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  16. Paula
    post it

    AH: you got pictures, I lost eight bucks and caught a case of poison oak. God likes you best

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  17. All thought provoking...our thoughts and prayers are with you all out on the gulf coast, as well as here at the edge of the station fire...we are all in God's country...

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  18. I have noticed that in a fire, the chimney is always spared.

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  19. Yes, Marjie, chimneys and ourdoor steps leading to non-existent front doors.

    (Poison oak, PA? Really?

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  20. Wouldn't you just love to grab little Miss Drill Baby Drill by the throat and rub her nose in it???

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  21. I realize no one has given a comment on the double-mouth blue mask and the glass-bubble.

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  22. I really like both your points today, AH. For years I’ve had the occasional thought that nature’s most impressive places are also its most dangerous for humans who live there—mountains, shores by big water, river banks, even the tornado-prone Great Plains. I’m alternately bored and comforted by lower Michigan’s milk-toast landscape.

    But trying not to want anything you can’t bear to lose—maybe we Americans are especially bad about bearing to lose, as we gather, gather, gather.

    I’m no monk; I’m pretty bad at self-denial. But when I see what and how much others want and EXPECT, the old saws about conspicuous consumption and entitlement just keep getting truer, it seems, even in a two-year, major recession.

    Sometimes I feel as if I’m the only who sees it that way. I’ve heard of young couples “buying” prestige-address houses, which they could not afford to furnish—they slept on the floor, no chairs for company, but had a prestige address (with minimal natural beauty, I might add). Why can’t I understand that?

    Of course, when you talk about forest fires, hurricanes, man-made disasters like the Gulf . . . a human’s got to live somewhere, and these great forces get the cabin-dwellers as well as, or more than, the mansion-owners.

    Long and long-winded. Sorry.

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  23. Thank you for all your kind words and thoughts. They're now finding tar balls, sea life in distress, and oil on Florida beaches. It's here. And Bayside is on the water so eventually she's going to be dealing with it directly. Pray for her and her family and neighborhood. I realized today that I've been anticipating this like a hurricane out on the Gulf heading into shore. Now that it's here and not just "out there" maybe I can deal with it better. I'm sure it's going to be an ongoing process. One thing is for certain: it's simply hideous. It's going to be hard to deal with, especially when the vaporized crude oil gets into the air and we're all smelling it and having problems from breathing it. There is just no upside to any of this so it's going to take the whole community to pull together and maybe we can get past the anger and work towards recovery. Please don't buy BP gas or products. They just don't deserve anyone's support.

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  24. There's a Facebook page for the BP boycott. The companies they own are listed on the left side:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Boycott-BP/119101198107726

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  25. Oh, Paula.

    We'll be looking for groups we can support in any way. I know there will be people out to try to scrub the tar off the pelicans, and ... oh, the monumental tasks ahead, unimaginable. Please you and Bayside let us know the rescue groups, etc., you trust.

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  26. Paula,
    I regret that all of the readers haven't had the privilege of experiencing the pristine white sandy beaches of the Gulf coast for themselves. I makes me so sad to think of what it's become in just a few short days.
    V

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  27. These photos are haunting, Karin. Looks like a great place to explore.

    The gulf crisis is inevitable if we're going to drill for oil in oceans. We've known since the early 70s that we need to find alternatives to oil. Maybe events like this will spur us on.

    "I never wanted anything I couldn't bear to lose." A nice line, and one could write a book about its implications. The whole subject of what it is to own things, and what it is to lose things, is fascinating. Life itself means ultimate loss, if we don't learn to "adjust."

    As far as boycotting BP, I exclusively buy gasoline at ARCO (formerly Atlantic Richfield, now owned by BP) because it's the least expensive. Is BP really the problem, or might this not have happened with any oil company. Isn't the problem oil dependency and off-shore drilling?

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  28. Let me echo Paula's thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. As Paula said my hopes that the oil would not actually arrive in Pensacola were smashed yesterday as tar balls and tar mats made and appearance. But Paula, you're right. Now we have to put the anger aside and dig in to do all we can to mitigate the damage. I just stare out my window wondering how long before my lovely Bay is fouled.

    Virginia: Have you noticed we've not heard one single peep out of 'Miss Drill Baby Drill.' Best she avoid the Gulf Coast for oh, I don't know, FOREVER!

    As for boycotting BP products, Mr. Earl has a point. However, any pain inflicted on BP would go a long way to feeding my up to now untapped need for vengence.

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  29. I'd be willing to boycott BP, except that I wonder if that hurts the little guys with franchises, and their cashiers, for example, more than those really responsible. If I thought I could assume anything, I'd assume that the U.S. government will be making them hurt, in addition to what the clean-up will cost them.

    I don't know how much comfort that is to Paula, Bayside, and the millions of other affected people, animals, and plants. Paula, I find it valuable to hear from those, like you, who are right on the spot. For example, I'd never have thought of breathing the vapors, and I wonder if details like that will make the news.

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  30. When you boycott one oil company, it's not like you're supporting your local Girl Scout Troop when you buy from another oil company. Does BP really need a message sent to it that hasn't otherwise already arrived in its mailbox?
    Is the company you're buying from going to dismantle its offshore rigs in appreciation?

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  31. I'm with you to a point, Earl and Banjo, but it's not like this gusher could have happened to anyone. Wasn't it the result of monumental carelessness? While still in the planning stage, wasn't BP warned by some of its own scientists that this would be a disaster?

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  32. I've given a lot of thought about the boycott, about the impact all around, and whether it will affect anything. Just consider this: if this had been the North Sea or, say, Brazil we wouldn't be facing this problem because it's mandatory to have computerized shut off systems in place. BP and the US government didn't think this was important and now we're facing this ecological disaster. When I found out about the systems that should have and could have been in place I was outraged (how many other wells are there that could cause this same problem????). Boycotting BP raises awareness, puts all oil companies on notice, allows people who feel helpless to do anything about it to have a voice and in general is a safe but effective way to say, "NO MORE!" Beyond all that, just think about what is going to happen when the hurricanes form and spew vaporized crude oil EVERYWHERE including carrying it far inland and up the Eastern Seaboard. Read up on the plants and insects from the other Americas that have hitched a ride on hurricanes that have become invasive pests and nusciances over the years. This is just the beginning.

    As for dependence on fossil fuels, that's a separate matter, another debate. What we're facing here is the immediate pollution from this catastrophe. It's real and it's here and I don't know when I'll be able to swim in the Gulf again. We live here to be near the water; we're a system of beaches, bays and bayous connected by bridges. Crossing them may be the closest we get to the water for a long, long time. Just imagine not being able to go into the Angeles Forest at all because it could harm you and you'll have some idea of what we're facing.

    And now I'll get off my soap box.

    KB, you're a peach for allowing us to come here and say what's on our minds.

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  33. I'll be back to read everyone's comments.
    You photos are all I can deal with right now. It hurts to see them.

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  34. I completely sympathize with your feelings, Paula and Bayside. The people of Santa Barbara dealt with a similar situation back in 1969 and beyond. Much of the blame, of course, belongs with the government. Unfortunately, we have politicians who are rarely used to doing what's right - only what's right for "business."

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  35. I'm so upset about the oil pollution that I have't been following the news about it - talk about shutting my eyes and putting my hands over my ears. I'm so very sorry for all of you on the Gulf shores. There's a beach I often go to (my favorite) just south of Santa Barbara called Rincon. where the oil comes up naturally through the sand. If it's any consolation, the beach is a seal pupping area, and the bay is full of whales, dolphins and pelicans. I have to remove the occasional lump of tar on my dog's paws, but what I'm trying to say (clumsily) is that the ecosystem seems to be able to handle a certain amount of oil. I very much the Gulf shores can.

    As for BP, they're doing their very best, and I've always felt they were a very environmentally aware company. The provost of Caltech was their chief scientific advisor for the last 5 years, and he's now second in command to Steven Chu - he's also a very decent person. Wasn't it Dick Cheney who decided the extra safety valves weren't necessary? And didn't Halliburton supply faulty cement to line the walls of the well? Correct me if I'm wrong - as I said, I have been trying not to stress myself out by reading too much about this.

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  36. Me again: I also realize that some BP staff took risks that caused this disaster. But as easily accessed gas runs out (in the next 30 years), extracting it will cause more and more problems. I should try not to use my car so much, and donate the money saved on gas to the Sierra Club.

    Finally: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaGLIDKjk2U&feature=player_embedded

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  38. I'm no expert either, Bellis. And you know I have so much respect for your love of land and personal integrity.

    But I'd use the word "risk" if BP had put only something of their own on the line. I don't consider it simply "risk" when they were betting with the habitats and the lives of others. In such a case, I'd include words such as immoral and ruthless.

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  39. Karin, I've just read the latest New York Times article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/06/us/06rig.html?hp

    and now I wish I'd not tried to defend BP.

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  40. You know how some people do the pocket pat and check for keys and wallets? Because of countless times forgetting stuff, I now check for the camera, the battery meter, the memory cards, etc. It was a good habit to get into. Now if I'd just remember to take it out and shoot with it more. ;)

    So true about god's country. Your photos tell such a big story...

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  41. Poignant pictures, and post, and comments.

    Sigh.

    Thinking about the gulf and agonizing over those beautiful, powdery beaches. This whole thing is so bizarre. I read that James Cameron offered his entire underwater engineering team that he used for his Titanic documentary. He said they were used to dealing with problems even deeper below than this one and the government didn't have access to his technology and I thought, wow, this is getting surreal when movie moguls are our last hope for an environmental disaster.

    You always know just how to capture a mood, Karin. The chimney shot speaks volumes.

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  42. NYT on Pensacola:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/06/us/06pensacola.html?hp

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  43. Seems so full of stories. Thanks for taking us along.

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