The fires that consumed Northern California where I live raged on for over a week. It was 8 days before we found out our home still stood. It was 13 days before friends were permitted to check on our home (we are now out of town) and 13 days before one of our cars was deemed safe since it had been parked in a parking lot in the town of Sonoma (because our friends went back to their home after being evacuated and couldn't leave for another week to go get our car and their other car.) It's been nightmarish. Never having been so close to a natural disaster before, we went thru so many stages of fear, sorrow, stress, extreme fatigue, wild uncertainty and shock. During the entire process, we were gearing ourselves up for the loss of everything.....it was a mind boggling experience. Our friends were able to get into our home yesterday and reported that everything is fine. Out of the 3,300 homes in our community, 3 were lost to fire. The stats are that 100,000 people were evacuated. 400 square miles of land was destroyed. 8,400 structures were consumed by fire. 42 people died, (so far.) We made arrangements 3 months ago to go to Kauai, our sanctuary island, to rest and to see if moving here is actually feasible for us now. The date to leave was 48 hours after the wildfires began. Deciding to leave in the middle of the fires while not knowing if we had a home to come home to was a leap of faith and an act of surrender. There was nothing we could do at home but stay in a shelter. We realized we were powerless. A condition I experienced a lot on these boards where my daughter was concerned. A total lack of control. My friends, most of them new friends, showed up in spades, insisting we leave, insisting they would take care of everything. As you may recall, over the last few years I've done a thorough scrutiny of my closest connections and recognizing that quite a few were not reciprocal, compassionate, kind and loving, I let them go. It was very, very hard. In the last 6 months, new friends have shown up......wow, the difference is remarkable. I am shown so much love and support and that allowed us to leave and take them up on their offer to take care of 'stuff.' I am so grateful. We are here on Kauai for one month. The first 12 days of this trip have not been what we expected. We spent the very beginning of it letting go and accepting that we may have nothing to return to. We got to a point where that reality was what we truly expected. When we realized we were not going to suffer that fate, the level of gratitude that erupted was immense. All of our friends and loved ones are okay, their homes are intact...... some have pictures of the fires coming right up to their fence line. It is a miracle none of us are taking for granted. I have nothing but time right now to ponder this experience. My daughter and all of her wild, chaotic choices paved the way for me to learn so much about letting go, powerlessness, lack of any control....... and the seeds of acceptance blossomed. Leaving Sonoma County in the middle of the firestorm was my own acknowledgment that I have absolutely no control over this situation, it is what it is. One way or the other, I will have to accept it. Two days ago I learned that my younger sister, who estranged herself from the rest of the family years ago, has terminal cancer. I raised her from age 11 on. I am devastated. Still going thru the grief of that. Sometimes life just knocks you down with more to accept. If it feels right, any prayers you can offer for my sister are appreciated. She's had a tough life. I cried for my home. I cried for my sister. I cried for those who lost so much in the fires. The grief is real and it hurts. Underneath it all, I am aware of how much I have no control over. How much I must accept in life. How much of life is about letting go. Today I woke up and felt this deep calm, a peacefulness I haven't felt before. Somewhere inside of me, acceptance has taken root.....there is nothing I can do about so much in life....all I can do is respond to each circumstance, have my feelings........ and let it go. And then turn around and let it go again.......and again......and again.......and again. We humans try so hard to put it all in a box, to find a level ground to stand on...to control life......but there really is no level ground to stand on, it is ALWAYS shifting and moving.......all we can do is accept the shifting and moving and learn to ride the waves with acceptance. It's taken me years and years to find a stance to take that isn't rigid and controlling......my own fear has brought me to the edge so many times......and this time I teetered on that edge for so long......I got somewhat used to hanging there in mid air with nothing to hold on to....... .......and then I woke up with that peacefulness.....it all is what it is......I have no control at all....and that realization is.....well....freeing.....liberating.....open and airy..... I have no control over any of it.....none.....wow. ........there will be more times to let go......more to accept.....more to grieve......that's life....but for today.....I am in paradise in peace. And so, so, so grateful. So grateful.