Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday evening


Friday, October 26, 2007
No more fire threat to city of San Diego
Matt Hall and Sherry Saavedra, staff writers
Posted by Union-Tribune, 2:19 PM

San Diego Fire Chief Tracy Jarman said this afternoon there's no longer a fire threat to the city of San Diego.

However, Ron Lane, director of the county's Office of Emergency Services, said parts of the county are still very much at risk.

"There is still danger out there," Lane said at the county's 1 p.m. briefing on the latest fire conditions...

Tonight is quiet, the sky is clear, and a light breeze from the ocean blows cool air on my face as I pull on a fleece cardigan. It almost seems as if I've been transported away from the inferno that was Tuesday and am now someplace much more temperate and far far away. Then again, was it really only Tuesday that I was in the inferno?

There's a surreal quality to living through a crisis, almost as if your mind is conditioned to receive the same basic input on a daily basis and rejects that which is too far off the scale of "normal." You ask yourself if it really happened, and wonder how you are to process all this new and "abnormal" data in your brain. As if your mind can only absorb so much at one time, and needs to push some of the experience to the side, so that you can absorb it later.

In the movie "Courage Under Fire," Meg Ryan is the commander of a downed helicopter who leads her crew of 5 men (including one badly injured) through enemy fire to a safe place in the rocks where they can await evacuation. Everyone is on edge, and suddenly, after a moment of stillness, one of her men glances at her brushing away tears from her cheek and exclaims, "Are you CRYING??!" To which she responds, "This is STRESS, MORON!"

I love that scene.

Throughout the movie, Ryan's character is portrayed as a strong, confident, resourceful, capable woman. They didn't have to include a scene with her crying, but they did. What a great and honest scene. I hate to take my cues from Hollywood, but I need to be reminded that strong women relieve stress by occasionally crying (as opposed to screaming, swearing, breaking things or blowing stuff up in video games).

The past four days, especially Monday and Tuesday, were mentally and emotionally draining, and by Thursday afternoon, it didn't take much for me to burst into tears.

I think I'm still processing the experience of the fires: the smell of smoke inside the house, the ashes falling from the sky, the large plume of grey behind Mt Miguel, the anticipated call to evacuate, the painful waiting that would tell me whether the church would still be there when they re-opened Rancho Bernardo, the tension of wondering where my friends were, and whether they were safe... It's too much information, and I feel I'm still in sensory overload.

So perhaps I'll let myself cry a little bit, chalk it up to stress, and not let myself think that the tears mean I can't hunker down and do what needs to be done. I can do what needs to be done, just give me a tissue and I'll be with you in a minute.

1 comment:

Marylee said...

You are so sweet and so strong. I really love you.