Hannah arrived safely in the Dominican Republic (DR from here on out) after a rough flight from Miami. Several of the students were sick in the air from all of the turbulence, but once they hit land, they felt better. No word on whether or not Hannah was one of those who became ill, but all's well that ends well, right?! I probably won't hear anything again until the team meets back up to head home.
On a sad note, the Telegraph fire outside of Mariposa has taken the land that my family has owned for close to forty years. Well, I guess that's not entirely correct; the land is still there, it's the trees, structures, and trailers that are gone. It's a sentimental loss, and all of our family is safe, so we must keep things in perspective. I've had many wonderful times at that property and I believe our property is one of the reasons that my extended family has stayed close all of these years.
My grandfather and grandmother, together with her brother and his wife, bought forty acres in the middle of the Stanislaus National Forest. Their dream was that both of their families would have a place that they could go to so that it might keep the families close to one another. Their plan worked, and I am blessed to have regular contact with my extended family. I come from a big family and we've shared some great times sitting around the camp fire, visiting long into the evening. The one time of year that ALL of the family makes it up to the mountains is Thanksgiving, and it's a blast. Usually around 11:00 AM a big ride is organized and most everyone gets on their motorcycles and quads to travel off to Black Mountain, Soap Stone Ridge, the old mine, or other interesting locales.
You can get to my family's mountain property by going through Greeley Hill or through Mariposa which means it is smack-dab in the middle of the Telegraph fire. The only way in to our property is on dirt roads through the Stanislaus National Forest. Pine and oak trees cover the hills and line the roads. Manzanita bushes fill in the mountainsides, and at certain times of the year, poison oak is my number one enemy. On the news reports, you'll hear frequent references to the "rugged terrain." That terrain is what is hindering the efforts to contain the fire.
I don't know what we'll find when we are able to get back in to our property. Our mountaintop camp will be black and barren, I'm sure, but I will want to see what, if anything, survived from our trailer. There is nothing of true monetary value that was in there, but there were many items that belonged to my grandmother that were of sentimental value to me. There was the wooden shoe that we kept the matches in; my uncle brought it home from Germany as a gift for his mom (my grandma). The etched mirror on the wall, although spotted with age, made me smile when I saw it. My grandma would mount the pictures that we drew for her on that mirror. There were still a couple of my grandma's over-shirts and jackets in the closet because every once in a while they came in handy. There were some tin measuring cups that were nothing special, really, but they were old and dented around the bottom edge, and I felt close to my grandmother when I used them.
None of those things would mean anything to anyone else, but they brought me comfort when I saw or used them. Those are the things I will miss. I know of people who have lost everything in their homes to a fire, and this doesn't even compare. But it is a loss and a grief, nonetheless, for me. The latest report that I saw said that they now have the fire 40 % contained. If that is true, that's a marked improvement over last night when it was only 15% contained.
Anyway, I hope to get back to my bullet points on being easily offended one of these days. I've already started another post on that, but kids, activities, open houses, and family have pretty much taken all of my time. It takes a while to get a post written, especially because I'm not a natural writer and I have to really work at it. Let's just see how long it takes me to get back to that!