Many falsely believe that when we returned to our home things were better. These photos reveal what we see each day. While we are in our home we are in a small green oasis but when we leave our home we see nothing but destruction, wind blowing ash and the ditches full of ash washing down the side of the mountain. It is more than depressing and is a visual constant reminder what the new normal is going to be. The photo below is what we see each day across from the end of our driveway.
It is hard to keep a positive attitude when we are reminded visually each day of what happened. Many say the trees will come back and while that is true at the slow rate they grow at high altitude it will be decades before we see new trees. I have trees that I planted 12-15 years ago that are only 5-6' high and they are situated where they get daily water. It will take decades to reforest the miles and miles of burned scorched earth. The grass has already come back but the trees will be a long time and certainly not in the next 20-30 years. Majestic mature trees will take much longer. We have trees that when counting the rings are 125-150 years old and all they are now is charred and laying on the ground. So when will things get better? Not anytime soon for sure. Grass and weeds have come back but are only carpet for black, charred dead sticks that used to be majestic healthy trees.
The sludge that runs down hill and fills the ditches along the road and then over flows the road continuing on down the mountain comes with each rain storm. When does it stop? When all the ash that blows in the wind is finally washed down the mountain. Constant reminders of what has happened to the community and will continue for decades. When does the damage stop? Probably not for a long time and our daily visual reminder will keep the wildfire current probably for the rest of our lives. This is the sad reality and anyone assuming everything is now alright because we are back in our home is mistaken. Our daily reminder is something that we can't un-see. The normal we used to know is now gone and will not return in our lifetime. We have no idea how long it will take for us to adjust to our new normal.