Friday, 26 October 2007

When Disaster Strikes

I have to admit I live in a place where nothing momentous happens (that is, if you don't count the escaped elephants, of course).

In the light of recent news reports of the wildfires in California, I'm astounded by the resilience and bravery of the human beast. People helping each other, firefighters bravely risking their lives, and some homeowners foolishly risking theirs when they refuse to leave their homes, fighting a gargantuan blaze with a garden hose.

I read about generous people like Lyn Price, who dropped off a load of books at a local high school so evacuees could hopefully take their minds off the looming disaster. I worry about on-line friends who have family in the area.

When I read about people displaced by disasters like fire, hurricanes, tornadoes and even volcanoes, I can't possibly imagine the stress and fear they go through. To be forced to take your family to an emergency shelter, wondering if your home will still be there when the authorities sound the all-clear... well, it boggles the mind.

At the same time it makes me wonder what writers do when faced with such a situation. Do they sit on their cots in the middle of a school gym and fret? Do they try to take their minds off their situation by observing the people around them? Do they feel the urge to ask questions in order to use the acquired knowledge for future works? Or do they simply find that their experiences stay with them after the horror is over, and unknowingly fuel their writing?

Image: The skeletal remains of the Okanagan blaze during the summer of 2003, a few miles from my father's house in Penticton. We got lost while driving to Kelowna (wrong side of the lake) and came upon this scene).

1 comment:

Bernita said...

Here, nature repairs fire, eventually.