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A Bit Of Hope...


Today is a national holiday within this country, as the nation remembers the veterans both past and present who have helped to further the agendas of others while many of these vets struggle for life post "service". I could go down a rabbit hole with this one but I'll keep it pushing as I tend to do in order not to offend or annoy anyone (primarily myself).


I figured today would be spent wasting time planning how me and Brain would take over the world but my camera had other ideas for the day. My night ended rather late this morning and for some reason my alarm was set just three hours after I'd closed my eyes; nonetheless, I woke up thanking God for a new day and also muttering "C'mon bruh, c'mon man it was supposed to be off not on".


As I slowly rolled out of bed and my eyes started to come unglued, I remembered that I only had time for a cold shower and no breakfast because I'd promised my buddy I would take a trip up the hill to see the damage left behind by a fire which ravaged a few areas about an hour away or so from us. Now, I remember why the alarm was set at 7a, I don't know why I went to sleep around 4a, maybe I'll figure that out as I continue to write.


My buddy Dougie Fresh is very punctual and I found myself opening my front door at the very moment his car was coming through the gates of my property and turning onto my road. Tis the case with most of my adventures, I attempt to pat myself down to ensure that I have everything I need. "Do you think I'll need my Solomon's (hiking boots)", I asked and he just shook his head and said, "I think you're good because I didn't bring mine, it's going to be pretty cold up there though". IF you know me, you know that I'm not a fan of the cold, once my fingers/hands are cold, the adult baby comes out in me and I'm ready to go home. Dougie's comment about the cold stuck out in my head because I hoped he was wrong, I hoped he was dead wrong.


The two of us talked guns and photography for much of the trip until we started our ascension up the hill and we began to see the charred remains of trees and houses. At the height of the fire, I wanted to venture up the hill to see if I could capture anything "neat" for documentation purposes, however, by that time, things were out of hand and dangerous. I'd driven through a major fire some fifteen to eighteen years prior in Los Angeles, as in the fire was on either side of the freeway and we were driving through it while crews were frantically working to quench its rage. In seeing the remains of the destruction left behind by this recent fire, I couldn't help but wonder how and why these things take place.


It's difficult to place into words how vast of a blaze this was and actually still is as it's currently burning quietly in remote areas. During our drive we observed carnage which left us both speechless and grateful. We managed to flag down a local who informed us that in some places there are two to three generations of families who've been residing here, without ever experiencing a great fire such as this. The gentleman went on to explain that he had been a resident for twenty years but but two years ago he and his wife retired and built a home on the mountain; out of the hundred or so homes within their community, sixty six were lost, and twenty two were spared, including his.


There was a look in his eyes of both peace and resolve, it's hard to explain, I mean he looked calm as though the fire were the least of his worries at the moment, perhaps because he and his family had survived the destruction or then again, perhaps this is truly his countenance. He mentioned a neighbor who's an engineer from Idaho, he said that his neighbor asked him if he'd ever seen a forest after a fire.


He said his neighbor told him, "After a fire, the forest has a way of producing the most magical flowers, colors, and things manage to just come back to life, it's pretty amazing". The three of us sat there in our cars for a moment and let the thought sink, though he was retelling the story.


"It's all about perspective", he said.


The truth is, it's always about perspective, I found it difficult to shoot the deadness of it all but before our encounter with the local gentleman, I found myself attempting to focus on the little bit of green that I found along the side of the road/turnout. I kept rising to shoot the distant trees but my eyes kept being pulled back down to the life which was budding unbeknownst to those around it (except me). This was my reminder that things would be okay after time works its magic; the gentleman's story was merely confirmation.


You see, in life, we all go through some form of refinement, it doesn't have to be or it isn't always a major fire but in most cases we feel the heat of the situation(s) whatever they might be and we either grow from it or remain within the ashes.


I yearn for so much and I can see the green around me, so yes I still have A BIT OF HOPE that everything will be fine.



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