California is burning

It’s coming up on the year anniversary of the Thomas fire, then considered the worst fire in California’s history. And now on the eve of remembering our beautiful city, Ojai, and all that was lost, she is weeping for her neighboring cities that are burning. And crying for her northern California cities that are burning. This photo captured my aching heart and I needed to share. As the overwhelming destruction continues, we are hoping for containment, for the winds to stop, and for rain.






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I wrote this a year ago, when my home, my entire city, was surrounded by fire.


I just want to cry to relieve this ache in my chest that feels like my heart will burst. The Thomas fires have devastated parts of my town, peoples’ lives, animals’ lives, and left us remaining in an unrelenting hill of toxic smoke. We evacuated for 5 days and upon returning are pretty much home bound with our HEPA filters running day and night. Masks don our faces when we dare to venture out into the ash falling snow. I’m fixated on facebook where reports are posted and networking occurs. It’s here during this time that we are experiencing the best of the human condition: the heroic firefighters working round the clock; the selfless people reaching out to strangers albeit neighbors in this small town to help in any way they can (giving money, clothes, food, opening their homes, etc.); acts of kindness large and small that leave me breathless. And we see some of the worst of the human condition: looting, employers firing their workers without cause, etc.

Last night I saw a woman post something on facebook in one of the network groups (there are many) that her husband lost his job and they have four children with nothing to give them for Christmas. She left her phone number. I phoned her, mentioned my name and said I’d like to give you some money for your children for Christmas. I told her we don’t have children and I’d like to adopt them for the holidays. She, her husband, and the four adorable young ones came to our home last night and we handed her an envelope and all of them chocolate bars we had in the house. The kids were quiet to begin with but by the end of the evening they were running around the entire house in circles, giggling and playing. Then the spontaneous hugs and kisses came. The littlest girl grabbed my legs in a hug before she left. I can still feel the warmth of that moment. I can still feel the love we shared with complete strangers who for a brief moment in time became family.

The fire still surrounds Ojai in parts and ash filled smoke lingers in the air as the flames move up the coast toward Santa Barbara. My heart still aches and I still want to cry for all of those impacted and suffering, despite their smiles, despite their incredible resilience, despite their best attempts to rise up in gratitude for being alive because underneath is the lurking impact of the trauma we all share.

About The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

The year 1895 was filled with memorable historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T. Washington gave his Atlanta address; Richard Olney, United States Secretary of State, expanded the effects of the Monroe Doctrine in settling a boundary dispute between the United Kingdom and Venezuela; and Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted for "gross indecency" under Britian's recently passed law that made sex between males a criminal offense. When the news of Wilde's conviction went out over telegraphs worldwide, it threw a small Nevada town into chaos. This is the story of what happened when the lives of its citizens were impacted by the news of Oscar Wildes' imprisonment. It is chronicle of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating consequences, and how love and friendship bring strength and healing. Paulette Mahurin, the author, is a Nurse Practitioner who lives in Ojai, California with her husband Terry and their two dogs--- Max and Bella. She practices women's health in a rural clinic and writes in her spare time. All profits from her book are going to animal rescue, Santa Paula Animal Shelter, the first and only no-kill shelter in Ventura County, CA, where she lives. (see links below on Ventura County Star Article & Shelter) To find out more please go the The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap on facebook or Amazon or e-mail us at the gavatar addresses. Thank you. (photos: of Paulette, her family, and a reading at The Ojai Art Center, July 2012)
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57 Responses to California is burning

  1. Oh, today morning I read similar post; I feel situation is really bad in California due to global warming. Take care of yourself and your loved ones.

  2. mihrank says:

    Thank you for sharing about the wildfire, we had to evacuate immediately

  3. Jean-Jacques says:

    Marianne’s and my thoughts and moral support go out again this year to you and the people of Califorina who once more must suffer this terribly inhuman disaster. We am truly sorry that you and Terry and your friends and neighbours are made to endure this once more. We can but hope it will all soon be behind you, and that the memory of this tragedy will not negate the kindnesses and good deeds that surfaced thru the duration of all this misery.

  4. Seyi Sandra says:

    The California fire is so sad and heart wrenching! Please keep safe!! You have a heart of gold, God bless you for your kindness in helping this family.

  5. GP Cox says:


  6. natuurfreak2 says:

    I’m thinking at you and all the people there.And hope it gows to stop quikely.You are in my thoughts.

  7. Please, for these fires to stop and lives to be saved. I wish/hope/pray for these things with you Paulette.

  8. Thank you for what you- for humans and for the animals. I am so very sorry for what has been lost in your state. Many prayers for the people and the animals.

  9. Littlesundog says:

    I hope nature intervenes soon. You know I also worry about the vast wildlife loss. Sending thoughts and love your way, Paulette.

  10. It is so heartbreaking. My heart goes out to you Paulette and all those impacted by the fires. May rain come soon.

  11. It’s hard to imagine how frightening — and devastating — these endless fires must be. I would be terrified for myself and everyone I know. As it is, I send my east coast hopes that all of you stay safe. I wish I could send you our rain!

    • I wish you could send us the rain as well. It is very stressful and anxiety provoking. And sad. The upside is all the incredible people on the lines fighting and behind the scenes doing so much good. Kind-hearted, decent, selfless people make all the difference. ❤

  12. makagutu says:

    There are a lot of onions here, someone send some tissue 👐
    That was so kind of you to do, Paulette. That family, I guess, are saying Christmas came too early.
    Hope the fires recede sooner

  13. Clowie says:

    I was very sad when I heard the news about the fires. My heart goes out to all touched by this.

  14. Oh, this is so sad. We’re purraying for all of you, dear Paulette and we hope the fire will come to end. When we saw it on television, our hearts broke. Thinking of you all! Healing Pawkisses are on the way for all of you ❤ ❤ ❤

  15. Here’s to more people like you in this world. Praying for everyone in this deeply scary time.

  16. Denise Hisey says:

    So much tragedy and pain with these fires…that will last a lifetime and beyond. It is truly devastating. It is the stories of kindness like yours that will sustain hope….

    • Hi Denise and thank you. It’s overwhelming right now, especially with what’s happening in northern California. And it’s not just the fires here, but the other weather conditions/natural disasters that have hit/are hitting other areas, continuing to leave a trail of destruction in its wake. Things really need to change on a large scale. But for now what you said is so true, it’s the acts of kindness that in this painful moment right here, right now, that make the difference. Like your stopping by here with kind words. Have a good weekend. ❤

  17. dgkaye says:

    I remembered the post from last year :(. Devastating. My heart aches every time I see those photos. Prayers abound! ❤

  18. I weep for the people and animals hurt and homeless. It’s a sad time.

    • Yes, a very sad time. We’re all hoping for rain to come tomorrow, which is in the forecast. That will be a morale boost for the firefighters who we so dearly admire and love. There are immeasurable good people making a big difference. Thank goodness for that balance, it helps. ❤

  19. My thoughts and prayers go out every day for the entire state. Stay safe and know we are sending oodles of poodles thoughts your way.

  20. Sending love to you and prayers for gentle healing rain. ❤

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