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Written by Joan Sanger
Peeking through the crack of our terror and the nightmarish stories,
We now know things many people never will.
We are not part of it, we are inside of it.
We panic at the rumbling, the crackling, the falling…it is now the depth of our terror.
Sleep slips by us like a breeze against our skin, and our dreamland glimpses are only of fear and loss.
Before, some of us were aloof, remote, separated…peering at, yet not understanding, those with their own fears and terrors--
We had no worries of our own. We were in Paradise. Now we know. We know. We know.
Our smiles have left our faces and turned to fear and sadness. We now feel and see the pain on the faces of others whom we awkwardly, and sometimes heartlessly, walked past before.
We are forever changed.
Ultimately, we will be the seeds of flowers that blow into the ash and grow stronger every year, but we can’t feel that yet.
You, our heroes, are the nourishment for us--the flowers of the future in Santa Barbara and Montecito.
Our compassion and generosity will spread more readily and more freely now.
You were there to protect us, with the fullness of love, perseverance and purpose.
We know now it is not the being lost, it is the being found…
Found by you, feeling your sorrow for those we lost…you, our heroes, our first responders, our defenders.
How do we repay the kindness, love and sacrifice that is so different from other people’s?
Our very existence is because of you.
We cannot know the horrific discomfort you must feel every day at work. Most of us watch from afar, wondering how you do it and how we can help you.
And your families, can they drift into peaceful dreamland while you are there in the heat or the sludge or the water, saving us?
Is it worth it? …How can we thank you?
When you were little did you know you would be a hero, a sacrificer, a fighter, a warrior for our very survival?
Well you are.
Thank you for your example to all of us of how to be a savior, a hero, a living and compassionate giver.
Thank you for eternally changing us…with all of our gratitude and love to you, our heroes.
--Joan Sanger January 14, 2018