Having spent most of my childhood in California, it is very difficult for me to see some of my favorite “haunts” like Big Sur (Nepenthe, Big Sur Inn, Ventana, etc.) and also parts of the Santa Barbara area, like where my eldest brother was born, in Montecito, be affected by the fires and smoke. Even the places that, thankfully, haven’t been burned, are affected by the smoke from the fires. It isn’t easy to grow up in a place that becomes endangered by fires, mudslides, and earthquakes now and then….but I suppose there are natural disasters in all parts of the world…one learns to live with it, and, hopefully, survive it.  The places where these things occur are often some of the prettiest places on earth, strangely enough, and many of the folks who live in these places wouldn’t trade them for any other place. I moved East many years ago, but still hold a special place in my heart for the rugged coast of California…may the fires soon be vanquished, and the healing begin…..