Say goodnight, Gracie …

Tonight, I leave you with a photograph I took on January 1, 2007. I call it “Fairy Habitat.” It is what I see and feel here on the South Coast of Big Sur. That magic that Mother Nature shows us, if we are paying attention.

At last, it seems as if the Chalk is finally done with the South Coast. We are 97% contained, no real growth to speak of, and I am just about ready to put this baby to bed … at least until winter rains. 

But before I do, I have a few last things to say, and one more photo to post, sent by my friend, Skee Stanley of Cachagua Fire. 

First, I want to say it has been an honor to be able to serve my community by way of this blog. With the Basin Fire, there were a number of people and organizations who were able to share information. With the Chalk Fire, not so many. We are few and far between down here. Despite that, we are close. 

So many people have visited this blog since the Chalk Fire broke out on Sept. 27, 2008, almost a month ago, and so many people shared information and photos with me so that I could share them with you. I was oft times just the conduit. I have tried to mention them in the body of my blog all along, unless they wished to remain anonymous, but this blog was truly a community effort. That community encompasses so many more than the few people who actually live here on the South Coast, as we all know.

Our BSVFB has to be specially recognized. These men and women are all volunteers who have families and jobs. Their abilities were tested to the maximum with too many fires to even list, if we go beyond the “big” ones. 

Our local organizations, CPOA, Big Sur Chamber of Commerce, Pelican Network, and others, showed their support for their neighbors to the south in so many ways. We cannot thank you enough! CPOA has been a moving force at raising money to support those who were affected by both the Basin and the Chalk Fires. 

And the firefighters … ah, the firefighters. These men and women, whether on the ground, in the air, or in engines, they worked all summer and well into fall for us. I feel a special kinship to all of them. They have always been heroes. I just feel the need to let them know, whenever and wherever I see them.

I ran into a fire fighter on South Coast Ridge Rd. yesterday. I was chasing him down, as he was driving a Jeep with Colorado plates, and I worried we had another ding bat in the closed portion of the forest. He got out, in USFS ff uniform, and I apologized and introduced myself. “I am bigsurkate,” I said. “Hey, my mom reads your blog all the time,” he said. And my heart jumped. I think I have connected to more firefighter moms and dads than anyone else, and to them, I say, “Your sons and daughters are a special breed. I know you are proud of them. We are, too.”

Dave Potter, our Monterey County Supervisor, John Laird, our State Assemblyman, and Sam Farr, our U.S. Senator, have all been instrumental in gathering support for our plight in the political arena, and we are so very grateful for your support and care.

The Hermitage and the Zen Center, have both been impacted, tremendously. They have lost most of the income which sees them through the year. They both have support groups outside this small community, and I know all of you are helping them through these tough times. Please support them in whatever way you can.

We will need each other again, as the winter rains isolate our 90 mile community into pockets. We are preparing for physical isolation, but we know we are not alone. We are part of a grander and larger community that will be there for one another. I have always felt as if Big Sur was a microcosm of the larger whole. We will have the opportunity to demonstrate that this winter.

Please support your favorite branch of the Big Sur Community in whatever way you can. 

And, here is another community “sharing” by our favorite dozer operators, courtesy, Skee Stanley. This was taken on Wednesday up above the Hermitage. You can actually see the Hermitage in a way *I* never have!! Thank you for sharing this, Skee!!

And with that…”Goodnight, Gracie.”

bigsurkate, signing off.