Date: July 3, 2021
My Positive Pocket
Episode 5: I Survived a Forest fire: It's Time to Tell My Story
Last summer was a very traumatic chapter of my life. My days in fire evacuation truly tested the strength of my mind, it was so easy to completely shatter. I hope my story inspires you to take courage when life gives you hardships. The challenging moments are when you truly discover what you are made of.
42,000 people were displaced the Almeda Fire. This is my story.
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Safa Qureshi 0:00
Hello, beautiful. Today we are going to get into a story of, well, something that was rather traumatic to me and definitely was quite a hardship. And it happened a year ago. And well, it's time to talk about the fire.
Welcome to my positive pocket. My name is Safa and this is the sparkly little pocket where I will share the stories of my life and the lessons I've learnedalong the way. And of course, this little pocket of yours is going to be filled with positivity, I seem to be always overflowing with positivitysparkle. So this was a little pocket where I can share those sparkles.Straight through your earbuds. Thank you for joining me, and thank you for seeing what's in your little pocket.
You can just watch the news and see and see terrible things happening to people far away. But when it's actually so close to home, and you still don't know if you're going to have to come back to, It's really scary. I'm trying to distract myself with every possible distraction yet I just can't really do much of anything anymore. And it really sucks. Like, sometimes I feel like I'm fine. But then when I start really thinking about it, I don't feel so fine anymore. And I guess that's okay.
It's been almost a year and fire seasons coming around again. And well, just yesterday, I received a few extra signs from the universe that it's really time to record this episode. I had been thinking about doing it for a while but kept on having to put it off due to things just not aligning with my schedule. But the universe was really showing me some pretty adamant signs that it is time and this can't wait any longer. One, my blender nearly caught on fire. And I almost caught my entire house on fire because my kitchen like had this explosion of the blender generator! It was awful. It was such as smoking mess. And well, it just sent a lot of triggers down my spine because, well, I'm kind of, you know, frightened by fires and smoke just because of what has happened to me. And what happened to my entire town and much of southern Oregon last summer.
But if that wasn't enough, right after that, I got an email from the city. And it was our plan. It was our plan for this summer. And how we were going to be extra prepared for fire season because, well, the devastation that happened last summer. And so well it was really it was a real difficult read because I was literally reading a long list of things that didn't go well last time in terms of evacuation and things that did go well and how we were going to alleviate those problems and well, lack of preparedness by implemented structures that are going to be set in place this summer. So I guess this you know, email was supposed to help people feel like assured that we are not going to have to well deal with all the damage and trauma that happened last summer but honestly, it just brought back so many memories of well, the days in evacuation and going from you know, shelter to shelter and home to home. Just trying to you know, have a place to stay while my town was in shambles and we had no electricity and nothing was functioning so well... It's time to talk about it.
So this episode is going to be pretty entertaining. Since this hardship isn't happening to you, after all and you just get to hear about it. So sit back, relax, or if you're driving, enjoy the drive and well don't crash, please, and enjoy a little story that really, really is not a very easy one to share. But it's one that needs to be shared. So let's get into it.
All right. Well, I suppose we'll just start from the very beginning. Before any of this happened, I could never have foreseen What a crazy day that one day was going to play out to be. I was just, you know, doing my normal morning schedule. I did my ballet. I had my breakfast and had my headphones on with sound cancellation. And I was happily eating a cantaloupe Melon and listening to Beethoven's Symphony in complete bliss. And I was looking at the other window and it was sunny skies, and I did notice I do remember noticing that it was rather windy. And I did notice like things in my backyard like flying around and almost flying out of my backyard. Now I was like, all right, it's just a really windy day. That's not too unusual. Except Well, these were like ripping winds that were just kind of like breaking things. And well eventually broke my fence and a lot of people's backyard belongings. But that was before it got extremely bad. And I was just like, wow, it's a kind of interestingly windy day, but I was just so in my little heaven with my Beethoven, your whatever, your headphones and my cantaloupe. I just couldn't care much of anything in the world. I was in like, pure heaven. And then I finished my cantaloupe. And I was just like doing some dishes and lots of data, da. And I thought I heard something off. It was like something. I was confused. It sounded a little bit like, Well, my thought process was literally, my house is glitching. And I was like, what's going on? And I took off my headphones, and I paused the music. And I heard this really awful blaring noise like this really awful fire horn just going off. And I was like, Well, what in tarnation is that? I had no idea what that was. I was just like, that is a sound, a sound I've never heard before. And I'm hearing it. Where is it coming from? And I was like, I thought it was coming from some sort of gadget in my house or something in my walls. I don't know, I was really lost. And then I opened the door. And I was like, Oh, it's coming from outside. And then I was like, Oh, what's that smell. And so I ran to the other window. And then I saw it. It was just this big, black cloud. And I had never seen anything like it. And it was smoke. And it was just covering the valley. And I was like, What is going on? And I was planning on taking a walk so well. I just like you know, start going on my normal walk route. And of course, like I got my gas mask, because it was completely unreadable. And so I had my gas mask, and I was just going down. And I did not get very far on until it became well rather obvious even for me that something was up. My neighbors were packing their cap in their house. And they were just like putting stuff and stacking up everything in their car. And I was like, "Road trip with the cat?".And she's like, "No, honey, we need to get out of here. We're evacuating!".
I'm like, "We're evacuating? All of us? WHat's were like what's going on?". I was just so utterly confused. I don't know. It's just like in the emergency, my brain just couldn't run quick enough. And I was just like, oh, what's going on? Like, that's the only thing I could think of and well that there was something wrong with my house.
And well that the sky was black. Then I was like, Okay, this is a little bit more than just regular fire season this fire is kind of like closeish. And she's like, "Yeah, there's a fire heading straight for us. We have winds ripping over 20 miles per hours and the fire is coming right at us. It might be here and who knows how long how many minutes we have? We don't know!". And my blood ran cold. I just couldn't believe what I was hearing. And she's like, "go pack your bird. Go pack everything, and drive north.". And I was like, "drive north?"
Ah, this is so uncertain. Where am I going? Am I just going and like, feel for like, where, and she's like, listen to the radio for safety units, and blah, blah, and how it's like, oh, my gosh, is too much adulting for me! I am so confused. And then I went the other way. And I went back to my apartment. And then I went to the parking lot. And it was completely utterly empty. Except for two cars. One of them was driving out and I quickly ran and I stopped her and I was like, where are we all going? And she's like, "I don't know, honey, listen to the radio!" And then she just rolled up her window and drove away. And I was like, Oh, this is bad. This is really bad. And then I ran back. And I ran to one of the neighbors who was still in her house.
And I was like, Where are we going? What's going on? And she was on the phone. And then so she put the phone down. And she was like, "What do you mean, what's going on? Oh, what's wrong with the sky?". And I'm like, "apparently we're evacuating!" And she's like, we're doing what now? And then she got she was talking to the person on the other line and the phone and she's like, "No, honey. I gotta go now. And no, no, I'll call you back. But I gotta go!". Then she hung up, and she's like, "What?! We're evacuating?". And I'm like, "Apparently! I don't know where we're going. But we're just scramming apparently and scramming north. And so I ran to my house and I called my barn Mommy, which is the mom in the horse barn where my horse lives. And I consider her like another mother to me. She's just like such a motherly figure in my life. And so she was like, "Safa just come here. And I was like, Okay, I'm coming!". So I thought.
So then in that panic mode. It's like, it's like in the time when you need your brain to work the most in you know, an emergency, you just can't think straight and you take forever packing. And then you're like packing like lunch and dinner and I'm like, how many clothes do I pack? She's like, "Just grab something and go!" And I was like, okay, okay, okay, I'm coming. I'm coming. And then she calls me again. She's like, Safa, you better not still be in your house. And I was like, oh, okay, this is bad! This is getting too late. I need to get out of here. And so I packed a ridiculous amount of cantaloupes and my bird and we were off. So we thought, this standstill traffic had other plans. And we were in standstill traffic, and barely barely moving in his time of such panic and fear.
People were turning into complete barbarians cars were going over mediums and going through fields. And it's like, everybody was just trying
to go people were going on the wrong side of the road. Everyone was going and kind of like some people were going one direction and other people were going the other direction.
It was just such a mess. Everyone was just losing their heads. We had no fire plan. And so we were just like all making our own plans. And like just ramming all over Oregon. We're just like, oh, we're getting out of here and that's all I know. But wherever is here is good and fine with me. And so people were just gramming and I remember being on the side of the road and the skies getting really black and it was just such a bizarre moment. standing there in standstill traffic and just well and just looking over to the side Seeing a Jeep, just like right down the field and like just looking at all of us standstill cars like, ah, suckers, I've got four wheel drive, and it's just like driving like safer, faster right beside us as we stand and still. But, golly, my life is so hubris, it just had to add that little detail, didn't it? But honestly, this is like one of the experiences of my life and I would never Well, I never toss it for anything I developed so much as a person during my time in evacuation. And well, I've just become such a, such a more like, strong and emotionally well rounded individual. And so even though it was a difficult, difficult experience, and it was really traumatic, I would never lose it for anything, because all of that painful growth I ever did in those weeks, was like something that's really gonna serve me for the rest of my life. Well, anyway, I finally got to my barn house. My stables where my horse lives. And it had been the whole day I was driving and I got there, you know, at night, even though it's supposed to be a 15 minute drive. And while I was just so mentally and physically exhausted, and I just went to sleep, and then well, I don't know just dreamed hoped wished that my house would be okay. And it was all over the news. That talent, the town where I live was on fire and buildings are catching on fire. And it was just Well, I remember it so well just like standing in the living room with my barn family as we just like huddled around the radio and the news and just kept on checking for updates.
And while it was just, it was almost like I didn't want to know at the same time because we were just hearing these frightened voices say things like Oh, wait, oh, wait, is the grocery store still okay, is it all the grocery store just went down? Then it's like, Wait, are them is my apartment complex? Okay, they're like no it just went down... And it's like, we were just listening on the other side of the line, desperately hoping to hear that our homes were okay. And that our city, our little town was somehow going to survive this. And it was just such a thump in our chests. One of our hearing things like, Oh, this building's gone. Oh, the whole, the whole little like, boutique strip and the city? Well, the city I don't know, like the main hub of the town has just caught on fire. And it's like, the motorcycle shop just caught on fire. And it was just, Oh, I can't even explain. And we were seeing footage of like, places that I go every day places that I walk on, because I walk all the time. And so on my daily walk, I looked at houses that I had seen yesterday that were just well, that were no longer and they were just rubble and all you could see is like a barely a little bit of a picket fence and maybe a little joe biden's sign or something and it's like nothing was left and it was so horrifying.
When my barn family was like asking me stuff a Safa do you recognize this place? Do you recognize this place? And well me the sad scared little evacuee is just like looking at the TV screen and just hardly recognizing the town that was so familiar to me. Just yesterday and now it was like looking at the back of my hand and just looking at it like well, looking at my burn back of my hand. I knew that place like the back of my hand. And now it looked so unfamiliar and strange. It just looked like, like a terrible, terrible tragededy that had happened to someone somewhere far away. And I was just seeing it on the news.
Except this time, it wasn't far away, it was right where I called home. And that's really hit hard, because... It's so different when you're looking at the TV, and you get a little bit sad, because you see someone else far far away, is dealing with a trauma or a traumatic, a traumatic catastrophe that is so far and removed, that you're so far removed from. But like when you know it all, and it's your actual home, and it's the only home you've ever felt at home in...Well, that's when it really rips you apart and tests, you know, the true essence of what you're made out of. Because I went through that, and I'll tell you firsthand that it hurt. It really, really hurt. But I knew I was going to get through it. And something told me that my house was going to be okay. And that that was not the issue. But well, just the whole thick of it, the whole trauma of it, just the losing of neighbors and everything. Well, that was going to be the challenging bit. But I was going to have a house I pretty much knew or had decided, I think the universe told me that.
the next few days, I stayed in the horse barn with the family and well, I don't know, it's like they were very sweet. And they were just absolute angels to me.
But I just felt
like they didn't quite understand what I was going through. And I was hardly functioning. And of course, they they knew much of it. But they didn't know the entirety of it. Because they would still say things like, oh, keep checking when you can go back like, you know, like, because I had to get out of their house sometime soon. Because there were shuffling houses at the exact time. And they were going to the house next door. And so I was just in the way as they were trying to pack their belongings and everything. And I just wasn't their way. And they were having more visitors, I believe and I just I had to go. I and so the time was coming closer. And well, I was just living in such anxiety because I was like I can't go home. Like I don't have a home right now. And they seem to think that going back to town? Well, first, you'd have to kind of sneak in and go through back roads and barricades. And then you could like demand for the police that you want to go to your house. But why would I want to do that? The house was surrounded by a gloom gray and there was just this awful thick smoke in the air. And it's like it was a ghost town. Nobody was there. And there was just officers everywhere. And I just couldn't imagine going back all alone and living in my house all alone in an empty neighborhood complex.
And I just felt like whoa. So I had this fear as I was living with the family because I was so scared. They're going to kick me out. And then the day came where Steve the the father of the family said all right, "Safa needs to go today.". And I was like oh, I gotta go today. Alrighty, where am I going? And I just started desperately calling people and trying to find a place to stay cuz I knew for certain I couldn't go home. I had visited my home once to get well melons, and it was so horrible. It was just absolutely horrible. Well, first there was no power and I had to go through so many back roads and barricades and I had to sweet talk some officers into getting into the town because well I still had my Texas birth or my Texas license. And so they were concerned that I didn't actually live there. And also, I had ignored a few several barricades and just kind of helped myself to my house. And they were not pleased with that either. But I guess when they saw my innocent, tear, tear stained space, they let me through, and they're like, Okay, this time. But I did that several times after that as well, just because, well, you just had to do what you had to do with the law didn't make any sense. And so I was a bit of a rebel during the fire days, and I don't think I've ever broken so many laws in my life. But well, it all makes for a pretty good story, I guess. And I can't explain the horror of seeing my home. As I had left it days before the fridge was full of rotten food. And there's just this awful gas smell on the inside. And well, all the water was toxic everything it looked like a ghost had lived there.
And did you don't know only been a few
days, and there was just rotting food and just the smell of it all. And seeing my house in that state and just looking outside and everything being covered in just like a layer of well toxic, toxic waste. And I just could never imagine that I'd be saying something like this in real life. It looked quite honestly like something from a horse scene. And this is supposed to be home sweet home. And I just felt like I might never feel at home again here. And that I might be just kind of homesick for the rest of my life because I had lost the only home that I had ever felt at home in. And it was just so heartbreaking.
And then going back to the barn family and well Steve telling me that I had to go and that I'm well it's just like camping. I mean, who cares there's no electricity and no water. It's just like camping. But it wasn't just like camping. It was like something I could never never express in words. It was just the most uncomfortable feeling and like it. It felt so lonely. And it felt so scary. And it honestly felt like they were just it was a zombie town. Honestly, there were burned cars everywhere and just burned buildings and bits and pieces of people's old belongings because the houses that are caught on fire had like blown up and so little bits and pieces of burnt belongings were everywhere. And in front of my house, I would find a little piece of like some sort of like furniture and like it was honestly the most horrifying thing I had ever seen.
It was so bad and the smell was so bad. And it was just like, for the first time in my life, Ifound myself in the experience where I was wearing a gas mask, obviously. And I was that sad, scared, lost girl wandering through my town that once was... That was just a few days ago, Home sweet home and I was just looking at the rubble and looking at the house I used to always pass by with the rose bushes. Of course there were no rose bushes anymore. And well, I just cried. And there were a few other people had come to just see what had happened to our town and we just all cried.
And as I stood there, it's my tear stained face and suffocating in this enormous gas mask. I stood there among the rubble amongst well devastated people and a few burned buildings or quite many burnt buildings and burned cars and just burnt everything. And reporters were just walking and buzzing throughout the city. And they just once the camera looked straight at me. And I just thought to myself, you know, as I stand here, with my mask, looking absolutely devastated, as I see I have lost so much that has meant so much to me. I had just lost my town. And somewhere far away, perhaps mother will turn on the TV see us sad, scared girl and say, Oh, another fire happened this summer. Well, I just guess it's global warming, and then just turns off the TV. And she's like, well, poor little girl, somewhere far away. And then she turns off the TV and just says, well, kids, it's time to have dinner. And they can just continue their happy little lovely dinner time while I stand there in complete devastation, just looking at the town that I felt so at home in. And for the first time looking at the town that I called home, and not feeling at home at all, and feeling like a cold stranger, entering a territory that is private, and not meant to be seen by anyone.
So the next time you're watching TV and see someone going through something so terrible, far, far away, think about it a little differently, because that person could be you. That person could really be you. And you never know when it's going to happen to you. So where did I go? I had to leave that beautiful stables of mine. And I was quite desperate. And so there was this guy that I had met on Instagram. And he had offered to me, well, "you can come to my place and you could sleep in my bed and I will sleep in the living room.". And it was a guy and while I had never met him in real life, but I was like, Sure, it's gonna b e a hell of an adventure. It's gonna be an adventure, I will just go to a complete utter strangers house. Because what choice do I have at this point?! don't know where I'm going. And I just, I can't just go somewhere alone. And at least I kind of know him and he seemed really sweet. And so then I, you know, pack all my stuff, pack all my melons. And I head over to the other side of town where I was going to someone's house that I had never met before. And I was going to have to stay with him for who knows how long. And so I get there. And of course, he's absolutely a sweetheart. And he's absolutely wonderful. And I go into the home and although it did not feel like home, and there were people smoking and doing some interesting stuff on the inside of the house. So it's like I was staying inside to avoid the gas, the toxic gas outside. But now there were three smoke on the indoors too. And I was just like, Oh dear. Yeah, it was a bit of a it was a bit of an interesting home and there was a few people living in the one home and well I'm pretty sure the guy in the room right beside us was a drug dealer. But anyway, gives you the scene. It smells pretty awful inside that house too. But they were rather kind people and the friend that I had met on Instagram was very kind but it was just in that moment going to my second evacuation home that the homesickness really hit me and just that that fear that I'm going to feel like this for the rest of my life. and I literally have lost everything to me like that. My little town I cherish that town. And although I hadn't lost everything, of course I it just I felt like everyone was feeling everyone kind of felt like do we stay and fight through this or do we Just flee? And run away and go live somewhere else and pretend none of this ever happened. But I chose to stay. And many people chose to stay. But many other people were like I am moving. And I'm like, Where are you moving? And she's like, well, somewhere where no forests are. And I was like, well, that's a good point.
Goodness, but I had received the intuition that I was going to stay. And I was going to fight through this, like so many others beside me. And, well, I definitely cried a lot. And my days is an evacuee in that home. And I just kind of went about my things. And my tried to keep myself busy. And I tried to paint a little with the water colors, and I went on walks through the neighborhood that well, for neighborhood to me, and although it wasn't my neighborhood walks, at least I got to walk somewhere. And I remember just walking, and listening to some pretty sad and depressing music and walking in unknown towns, just thinking to myself just wondering, just hoping, just praying that one day, I'll be walking my normal day path back in my little town, and everything will be healed. But I continued to walk in unknown part of the city. And of course, the sky was still black, we didn't see the sun. For well, like a week, the sun was completely covered by all the pollution in the air from the fire. And well, there was not much of anything through it. It was just like this awful, hazy grey sky all the time. And it felt so sad and depressing to have like a grey sky in the summertime, every day. And it just like I needed to get outside and walk. But the air was so bad. So I just had this like suffocating gas mask strapped to my face and making red marks on my face. But I mean, what are you going to do? And I remember walking past the Greenway. And the Greenway is the strip of forest that runs from town to town. And the Greenway is what caught on fire. And so this fire ripped through all of the towns, just destroying the towns in its remains. But yeah, so I would see a part of the Greenway whenever I was on my walks, and my second evacuation home, and also my third evacuation home, but we'll get to that. And it was just so devastating.
I mean, walking, I literally when I think of my time as an evacuee last summer, I remember listening to just a really dramatic, sad music, and walking through a burnt forest walking on the side of the road by the burnt trees, and just like all the black suit, and just the absolutely devastated forest, and just thinking to myself, like, wow, thishas really happened. I mean, it took a week of swallowing, to really come to terms and like, understand that this is really happening. And this is this dream is not going away. Every time I wake up, it's still here. And it continues on and this awful little nightmare of a week. And well, I guess my life is rather epic, isn't it?
I find myself in the most well intense epic situations. Though some of them are rather difficult to go through. And this was certainly one of them. But I mean, even through it. It was beautiful. Even going through this experience. It was a beautiful time of my life because I just felt so many things shifting inside of me. And I was just going through like a speed ball of a ton of self growth in just a few days. And while I was really really discovering what I was truly made up on the inside. And well, I'm one tough x, evidently. And I was going to make it through this. And I knew this, I knew I knew that there was going to be an end to this tunnel. And one day, I would be going on my walk, and the sun would be shining. And I would be able to breathe again. And I knew I was going to feel at home once again. Eventually, and so I was just gonna get through this time. And while I'm getting through this time, I might as well listen to some epic music and walk through that burned forest like, well, that awesome character in the tragedy storybook.
But you know what I mean, if I was going to have to go through that experience, I was going to make it beautiful. And that was going to be that. And when I eventually left that home, and went to my third evacuation home, I was finally beginning to kind of, you know, feel back to my normal self, not quite, everything was still a bit damaged. But I still had gotten to the point where I was able to dance. And I remember I took this video and I danced You know, it was just like my dance of freedom. They ended up posting it on my Instagram. And while if you scroll all the way down to my feed, you'll see it I'm in this yellow, yellow sweatshirt. And mind you, I had not packed that many clothes. And well, the clothes that I had packed were absolutely disgusting by this point, because I had worn like the same, the same sweater for the same, like the same leggings. Or maybe I had like two different leggings. And I was aware I had like three underwears and I was wearing the same clothes for 10 days, and it was starting to get pretty nasty.
But it was just like the least of my problems. And I couldn't worry about like trying to find like detergent and like trying to like, I don't know, find the laundry. It just was not the most important and pressing thing to me at the moment. So I went over a week without doing laundry and only just a few pairs of clothes. Goodness, it was gross, but I just couldn't focus on it. I was not preoccupied with my hygiene. It's like I couldn't think of much of anything. I had lost so much weight. And just food didn't taste good to me. And I was just wasn't hungry. And it was just so hard to care about anything other than the fact that well, like this is really happening and like trying to swallow that and like trying to take care of bodily functions at the same time seemed to almost be like too much to ask. And so I just kind of survived those days and I wasn't truly living. I was just surviving not thriving at all, but well I mean, you've been sitting here for long enough, and it's time to wrap this story up and tie a bow, isn't it?
Well, a few days later, I finally got the notice that my electricity and my water was back and that I could go home. And I was asking other people if they were going home, and they said that they were, and Well, some people never went home. And some people went home months later, after they had finally undergone the personal strengthening and had the courage to go back home. Because I'll tell you that coming back to that home and seeing all of just fallen structures, fallen telephone lines, seeing the National Guard everywhere, seeing all of this construction everywhere, just seeing such a destroyed and devastated town was a lot. And some people needed months to well find the courage to go back. Because it was really difficult. But I was ready to go home. And I knew it wasn't going to be the same home and I knew it wasn't going to feel like the same home. But I was going to make this work. And so Kiwi and I traveled back and we went back into our home and picked up the pieces of well, where and how we had left it and lived on.
People started slowly moving back into the town. A few days later, the sun came back and sky cleared up and well, we could breathe again. And slowly by slowly the rubble has been cleaned up. And well. It's been almost a year now. And it's now it's all almost gone. Almost all gone except a few rubble pieces and well, quite a few signs of the destruction. And while of course the trees are still burned, but slowly by slowly, my little town. Well, what's left of it has been picking up the pieces. And we've been picking each other up too. Whenever we went back, can you see there still wasn't good water. So people had just left water bottles and fresh water outside their doors for those that couldn't get fresh water and those that were struggling because the fire Well, it ripped away so much of our little town. It's like some people lost everything they owned. And so we were all gracious and giving in the time of need. And some people had like cupcakes and some people had cookies and water. And people just left things in front of their doorsteps meant for people who needed them. And I donated all of my toiletries and toothbrushes. I donated all my bamboo toothbrushes. And everybody just pitched in. We just leaned on each other because we realized that we might lose the town any day now. But we're never going to lose each other. And so we picked each other up, we wrote signs that said talent, stay strong. And we painted rainbows on the sidewalk and we planted flowers. We even made a monument where well, the houses we had once stood. And we had a little party, my neighborhood had a little party, and we got together and we brought you know, like organic fruits and vegetables from our gardens and we shared with each other and we truly cherished what we have left and we cherished each other because for the first time my entire neighborhood had gathered together to just have gone through such a life changing experience that changed us all.
But we got through together. And we were going to get through this together. And well, we did. And the days that followed, I didn't want to leave my house because I would have to drive out the parking lot and see all the buildings and see all the devastation. And I just want to see it, it just hurt so badly. And so I stayed in my house for a few days. And I didn't go to the stables because I knew the route to the stables would be the same route that I had taken that very day when it all happened. And well now as I would drive across those shopping strips and what they used to be, it would just be well, Rubble now. And it was just a bit too much to swallow all at once. And, well, we just got through it day by day, and we picked each other up. And we put Braves smiles on and we helped each other out. And well, the people that still had homes and had space in their homes invited refugees from the fire to stay in their homes. And we just showed so much courage and kindness to each other. Because we knew that people were really struggling even though we put on a brave face. And none of us tried to, I don't know, hide away or just, you know, suffer in silence we suffered together. And we made it through it. And I changed my route on my daily walks. Because while it was so difficult to walk past all of the burnt buildings, and also you weren't supposed to go very near the rubble because it was utterly toxic. And you might inhale like his asbestos, and like other fumes and terrible things for you. So we stayed well away from them, and we're quite happy doing so because they were not fun to be around. That's for certain. And well, almost a year later. Everything is almost Well, I don't think it's going to take several several years for the trees to grow back. And but it's it's almost completely cleared up. It's taken us a year. But I mean, everything was destroyed. So it's taken a year to really kind of pick up the pieces and rebuild our little town.
So now it doesn't hurt as much as I go down the road. And well just think of all the buildings that no longer exist and see the empty spots where there used to be a hotel or an apartment complex. And the only sign that's left is the sign that says hotel and seeing that strip of trees and the tips of the trees being burnt off by the fire. There's reminders everywhere. It's too difficult to be blinded and not see all of them. They're just everywhere. And there's no point trying to ignore them because you will fail every time. It's obvious that the fire had happened. And today, I'm pretty strong about it. I am not completely traumatized by fire, and I have accepted the experience and I have truly loved the experience. Even those difficult I'd never I'd never take it away from my story book I call life and it was a very important chapter and it was a very, very epic chapter of self growth and well true courage and compassion for each other and compassion for just others across the world... And there's just so much that went through those few days nd well the month to follow. So today I can talk about it quite easily and with ease I can talk about The fire in it doesn't crush me. But still, even you know, these days when you think everything is fine, I find myself you know, driving to the dentist and seeing the fire retardant on the side of the road you see on the sides of the roads, we still have like, some terrible orange color from the fire retardant that was sprayed everywhere to well just slow down the fire. And so as I drive past, you know, the the Greenway and see the burnt trees and see the orange fire retardant. I still cry about it. I still cry sometimes. And I feel the emotions and I feel all that I went through in a flashback, and we'll just enter the dentist with tears. And somebody asked me What's wrong? And I say, "Well, I saw the fire retardant". And they're like, "Oh, honey, I know. I know. I see it too". But we're here for each other because we all experienced it together. And we all got through it together.
And so lovely listener, I think I'm going to complete my long story. Good job for sticking it through. It's not an easy one. And well, it's a rather long one. But I think I'm finally done now. That was the story of what happened to me last summer. And well, now it's time to talk about it and share and really honor it because we're getting to that time. And well, it's so easy to be frightened by this fire season. We don't know what this fire season is going to bring. We might have to evacuate again. We just don't know. And we know how uncertain The future is. Because, well, we had been slapped in the face with it last year. But we do know that whatever happens, whatever this fire season throws at us this time, we are strong. And we'll get through this together. Whether or not the fire comes close to us again. Well, wish me luck beautiful est sitter, because I'm about to undergo the second fire season, after Well, what happened last fire season and everybody is paranoid. And well, wish me luck. And stay tuned to what happens to me this summer. And hopefully, it's not nearly like anything I experienced last summer. Well, for now, I know that was a bit of a long episode to listen to. But there you have it. That's what happened to me.
And I hope you got some tidbits from this episode. And I did want to let you know darlings that I have created. I have created a masterclass on accepting and loving your hardships, and navigating through them and navigating through the aftermath. And finding your truest self within the experience. If you do want to take a look see at my masterclass and see if it's a good fit for you. And if you'd like to learn from my experiences and well, my little golden nuggets and standpoints on life, you could take a look at the episode description notes, and I have put the link where you can see my masterclass and learn more about it. And well, I just want you to know that if you're going through a hardship right now, or if you've gone through something that still eating at you or has left you in broken pieces, then I would really love for you to listen to my master class because I know it's going to help a lot of people and what one of those people could be you. But for now, do check out my hardship masterclass. And do check out my new Oracle cards, they're all about fostering self love, and will just give you all the glowing warm fuzzies on the inside. And it's just a card deck filled with loving, beautiful, thought provoking bits from me to really foster in bloom your self love as you've further become the truest version of yourself.
For now, I will see you in the next episode. And I'm so grateful that there are wonderful people out in the world somewhere, just like you. So have a beautiful day or beautiful night and truly cherish yourself and truly cherish all you have in your life. Because you never know when it will be ripped away. And you'll truly be tested of who you are on the inside. I love you.
I have an Instagram and a Facebook page and my handle Is Silver Key Creations, that's Silver Key Creations! Take a look at what I'm currently up to and let me deliver you some visual sparkles, because the voice can only do half of the part. Right? Well, thank you so much, it means the world to me. You can see all of my artwork and what I'm currently working on at Silverkeycreations.com. You can also join my Flutter Flock. My Flutter Flock is my positivity group where I share sparkles from my heart to yours. It's just one little extra step above the podcast! If that feels right to you, be sure to join, and I'd love to have you. You can join by going to my website and signing up for my newsletter. And I would love to hear from you guys, leave a comment and I'll be sure to reply. And every little drop of support means the absolute world to me and I cherish your love and support. So thank you so much, but that's all for now! Enjoy your day, and I'll talk to you next time. Bye! Tootles for now!