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Monday, 12 November, 2018

"The animals and I are fine!"

I guess everyone learned by now that Malibu is on fire. I had to evacuate my property on Friday morning while La Cubana, my wonderful friend and assistant, rented a house for me and other friends looking for safety from the flames. The journey to Venice Beach, usually 45 minutes, took seven hours, running from the fire and the wind that stirred it. You see me on the photo in a Scottish friend’s rear mirror. Stuart Gow is a brilliant photographer and froze our quite terrifying memories of this escape into images.


Before I left I tried in vain to catch my wild and wonderful donkeys and had to let them run free on my land. My six ducks didn’t like the idea of narrow boxes either and I left them in their stable hoping the fire wouldn’t get to us.


It was a terrible feeling to  take my dogs, a few notebooks, photo albums and a suitcase filled with my favorite books, but to leave Zorro and Esperanza and the six chatty ducks behind. I felt like a traitor but everyone urged me to get out and I knew my children wouldn’t like the idea of their mother battling flames.


So…. I didn’t. But the man who had helped me plant and build and bring my property back to life after the long drought, came to fight the fires with his men.
Alfonso Fuentes, whom I like to call El Brujo, as he can talk to trees and make them flower, arrived with César, Rojelio, Alejandro and a few more of his wonderful men and they have been fighting for my house and barn for two days and nights now.  
Of course they saved the donkeys and the ducks.


My neighbors Laurel and Larry Thorne, organic farmers, saved their house and report back to me on my ducks and donkeys.

I don’t know yet how all this will echo in my books. Alfonso is already mentioned in The Glass of Lead and Gold. He will for sure play a part in the next Dragonrider. And Laurel and Larry Thorne … well, everyone will believe I made them up as  who has such magical neighbors?


The fires are still burning. I am not sure I’ll have a house by the end of the week.
We all hope they’ll open the roads on Tuesday and that we can get back. Whatever we’ll find - it will not be the Malibu we loved. But the ones who stayed and fought the fire made it in a way even more beautiful, although it is a burned paradise.

Cornelia

11 comments

Schattentaenzerin on 29 January, 2019

As Emily Dickinson once said, "Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches on the soul, and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all." And as the title of William E. Henley's famous poem says, "Invictus" translated to "Victorious". So glad that you're safe, had hope, and ultimately emerged victorious. Peace, -Schattentaenzerin

Firedrake on 6 December, 2018

I am so sorry. That must have been very hard to leave all your animals behind.

Unicorn on 6 December, 2018

I’m so sorry to hear this. Sending you all my luck.

Julia on 1 December, 2018

I am so so sorry to hear all of this. Thinking of you and your family, and sending you love and hope!

Annalisa Sommavilla on 16 November, 2018

Hi Cornelia. I' m so glad to read you are safe. What happened bring back to my mind the poem The Art by Elizabeth Bishop. The solidarity that arise in such sudden and diffucult time is so well described in A paradise built in hell by Rebecca Solnit. And in your books, Cornelia, in which we learn there are no single heroes, but friends... that we might call angels. A big hug to you and all yours,.. friends, neighbours, animals... landscapes...

Thank you so much for your warm-hearted entry, Annalisa

Annie on 15 November, 2018

I am so sorry!

Suse und Anna on 12 November, 2018

Seit die Nachrichten darüber berichten, denken wir oft an Cornelia und alle ihre Schätze, ihr Haus mit all den Erinnerungen.... ihre Tiere.... wir hoffen sehr, dass alles heil bleibt. Die Schutzengel sind ja schon zugange! Und nach dem Feuer wird auch wieder alles gut werden. Trotzdem jagt einem das Foto einen Schauer über den Rücken, es ist wie in einem Katastrophenfilm.... nur leider echt. Es ist sehr traurig. Allesallesalles Liebe!

Liese Suse, liebe Anna, dankeschön für die lieben Gedanken

Grace on 12 November, 2018

I am so sorry! Please say she is fine!

Yes, she is, Grace. Have a look at our news...

Brisa on 12 November, 2018

My best wishes to you and your donkeys and ducks

Christie on 12 November, 2018

I hope you are fine...! Please stay well...

Finder on 12 November, 2018

The terrifying power of the flame