Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Everyone Knows Whom the Saved Envy

Let's face it, there's nothing natural about a disaster*. The world shouldn't be able to turn so violent, so quick. As if it were simply waiting, lulling us with its goddam beauty into a sense that it didn't want to devour us whole. Then the very beauty, all that gorgeous green, all that majesty in mountains, it's what wants to get us. We get left fumbling with words, trying to locate where breeze turns to wind turns to deadly, where growth flowers into over-grown.

Of course for me this is easy, it is all word play, as I was luckily directly untouched. Didn't even have to leave my house in a hurry, like so many. Instead, it was fascination, watching the red worm do its wiggle down the hills. Then, of course, guilt, too, for simply being one of the spared when so many lost everything. And we say "it's merely possessions," but that's before we wonder if we possess them or they possess us. And I don't even mean that as some simple anti-materialist swipe; I couldn't as someone who sips from a cocktail glass his parents once owned only to think they're dead now but they drank from this. After a fire that glass would drink itself. That's just one example, but there are children's drawings, teenagers' poems, grandmas' recipes, so much memory to burn.

Now Santa Barbara has a gap-toothed grin above it, the odd spots to the left and right where the Gap Fire and the Tea Fire did their damage. Nature knows what it knows without us--the end is coming. We don't know enough to save us, even if we are those who are saved.

*Even leaving aside the Tea Fire that blew through the Santa Barbara hillside last week seems to have started because ten kids didn't put out their bonfire from the night before like good scouts



Anonymous Kathy said...

I am SO glad you're okay. That must have been scary. I'm so sorry anyone had to go through it.

6:29 PM  
Blogger glassangel said...

you wouldn't happen to have the text of the poem "Everyone Knows Whom the Saved Envy", would you?

12:59 PM  
Blogger George said...

I have the book it's from, yes, but don't have it electronically. Galvin was my teacher back in the day.

2:30 PM  

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