Someone I hold in very high regard has frequently referred to "blogging communities." And it's true. As we read about each other's lives, we become like neighbors. We laugh when they laugh. When they're happy, we're happy for them. And when they're sad or struggling, we're concerned.
By the same token, I've always thought of America as one big community. When times are toughest, that's when it seems we are at our best. Whether it's thirteen miners in a coal mine or thousands devastated by a hurricane, we hurt, we cry, we pray, we look for ways to help.
We are them. They are us.
It's both frightening and sad seeing the devastation caused by these wildfires and that eerie red glow in the sky. And that's just from watching on TV. I can't imagine what it's like to be there.
The following is something I wrote about California, a place I've visited exactly once. I wrote it over a year ago and it's been stuck in draft ever since. Today felt like a good time to post it.
California is just another place. Until you've been there.
It's just a name. An idea. A shape on a map. The setting for a million stories. It's Hollywood and LA and movie stars and the ocean. Late nights and late mornings.
It can be a lifelong curiosity, or a dream. But one thing is for certain. Once you've been, it's none of those things, and at the same time, it's all of them and more. It's a feeling of free you had forgotten you could feel, or maybe never knew at all.
California stays with you. Maybe not always in the front of your mind. But it's always there, somewhere. It gnaws at you, some days more than others. And you long to return, again and again.
"And it's one more day up in the canyons, and it's one more night in Hollywood. If you think you might come to California, think you should..."