“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”
~Henri Cartier-Bresson



Monday, August 15, 2011

Like a snake that you don't see...

The fear lingers.
Like the snake that left this print across the dusty switchback on our road during the late afternoon, the memories of the fire are fresh and ever present in our minds. Reminders are everywhere.

When taking my walk, after dinner, I saw this snake print and I knew that it was a huge snake that had traveled across the road. Other prints were found... a turkey, a fox and some deer prints but none with such slithering presence.
This was a huge snake.
This was one that has survived many seasons on this mountain... survived the fire on Wednesday and has become one of the myths.
Unseen... only leaving it's trail, as it moves about.
I walked slowly alongside the snake print looking at the width and the strength of the creature, imagining what it  must look like.
I watched each of my steps as I moved toward the grassy area where old boards and fence wire lay in the weeds.
I decided not to follow the print any further than the edge of the dusty road where the weeds didn't show the print anymore. Of course, I have no idea which direction it was going. I hoped it was moving away from the house and down toward the creek...away from the burned area and down to the green and unburned areas of our property. I had hope that it would find sanctuary somewhere far away in an abandoned mine shaft or vacant fox den.
I walked on down the middle of the road to the burned area that crossed our road.
I have done this every night since the fire.
I look at the burnt Manzanita and the scorched ground and wonder if , like the fire inspector said, the people who started this fire would probably come back to see the damage.
Do you think that they felt anything? If they knew a house was up here? If they had any remorse?
Was it really done on purpose or was just a careless toss of a cigarette?
Did they really do this "on purpose" ?...
What would the Manzanita and the Oaks say to them..
What would the burnt Toyon say...
Will these destroyers of nature drive by in the Fall and admire the beautiful red berries?
Will they even know what this plant is?
Probably not..
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This is were the fire started...
This is the river road that goes down to the Mokelumne River.
The Prospector and I drove down there to see the damage a few days ago.
We fixed some fences and put up some new signs and admired the cattails growing in the watery area near the spring.
 What a contrast the Cattails were to the black hill behind them.
I walked down the road and found some fire fighting left overs... not much really, just some rubber bands, some kind of head band and a glove. Surprisingly little for all the fire vehicles that were all over this area.
Then I just walked back and forth, looking for a reason.
I didn't fine one.

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10 comments:

Teresa Evangeline said...

I've never directly experienced what you have, but a friend had her home broken into and described how vulnerable it made her feel for a long time afterward. I can imagine it to be something like that. Walking over the earth will surely be healthy for you.

The snake must have been looking for good ground, a better place to be.

I hope you find some "good ground," also, a peaceful place in your thought.

Anonymous said...

agrees with the comment above...love and hugs and grits and so glad you all are ok. cant get comment to post under me so going to try anonymous... sigh

Brian Miller said...

def would be feeling the trepidation as well...ugh to think someone did that...do they realise all the life they disturbed and what they could have done...just shaking my head..

Debora said...

It makes me feel so sad that there are such unfeeling people in this world. I loathe snakes, but at this moment I feel sorry, even for the snakes that didn't make it through the fire...Sigh...Well, we must do our best to spread light and goodness on this planet, and even a little more...to compensate for those damaged souls who cannot.

jojo said...

people like that are souless and have no remorse or inkling of the pain and damage they inflict on others. The pictures tell the story...they are stunning and frightening all at the same time. I'm so glad you are safe but I fear it will take some time to feel safe...maybe in the Fall when the weather cools down and the rains come. Take care dear one...

Paxie said...

I would imagine you are still somewhat in shock as I would be. So hard to believe there are people out there doing such things. God protected you...no doubt in my mind.

That's one darn big snake trail.

After some time, like Jojo said, things will start to feel back to normal ((Hugs sweetie))

Jody said...

that's one gi-normous snake, momma! He was seeking safety too. And because you are good stewards of the land, you will wish him well.
It's heart breaking on so many different levels.
Those of us who love and respect and even worship the natural world cannot make any sense of the blatant disregard of God's creation. What is to become of us when humans no longer care about their environment? If we find a cure for cancer or heart disease - what good will it serve since our planet is dying and we've no where to go?
I guess we have to keep caring and doing what we do. Keep hope alive in our hearts - watch for signs.
Love to you-

Roslyn said...

It will be some time before the shock & sadness wears down Farmlady & even longer before the damage is covered by new growth. Next spring it will begin to heal in earnest - the heat of the fire spurs sleeping seeds & spores to life & awakens hidden things that only come to life after the intense heat of a forrest fire. I have seen it happen so often both in Australia & in AZ. But until then the denuded ground & blackened remains will be there a continuous reminder of the evil of man & the ferocity of fire.

Chef E said...

I read the post before this, and it is disturbing, I could never imagine what you are going through, and my heart goes out to you at this moment and the moments to come my friend...be safe, and I would save my loved ones before anything else...

Julie Whitmore said...

Dear Connie

I wrote a gargantuan comment on your fire disaster, but I don't think blogger took it.
I hope the big snake finds the fire starter and does his best to ensure that never happens again.
It did have a happy ending, and what amazing neighbors you have. Just warmed my heart to read that.
xx
julie