It's all gone...
I went up to Wildwood Canyon to hike today. It had been closed since the recent fires, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I'd watched the flames tickle the sky for days preceding the trip to the wine country - knew it was going to be bad - but wasn't quite prepped for the scene, I tell ya.
I don't run trails much...like to take it slow. But there was a cottontail who'd always pop out from behind one of the sages at the same spot, tease me to follow her, and run me up a particularly onerous part of the hill before dashing behind the shrubbery again.
There was no cottontail. There was no sage. There was no shrubbery.
There was an acrid film of ash, run through with the dun brown of a well-worn path. The inexorable climb, which was previously relatively well-masked by laurels and sages and yucca, was laid bare. The fire had stripped the hill nearly naked, exposing the beer bottles, cans, and other human detritus in its wake.
There was a cranny in the canyon that I used to love to cut down into, as it always smelled of the moss and ferns that tucked themselves around the little creek that had formed it - always ten degrees cooler, always beckoning me down from the ridge. It's now just an ugly gash in the rock, and the trickle of water that staggers through it must push through the remains of the mudslide the fire marshal left in his wake.
I hope my little cottontail made it out. And I mourn the beauty that used to pull me out of bed uncustomarily early in the morning to peruse it...can't wait 'till my canyon recovers.