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I read this book in one go… Highly recommended. I'm Still Standing : An uplifting and funny romantic comedy. Colleen Coleman.

IRTH LYRICS:

This was not in her five-year plan. This book was previously published as Reach for the Stars. The animals need me. That's my responsibility," he said. I know everyone's going to say I'm an idiot. What came next was a hour saga of fighting fires, saving horses, and dragging his saddle and other horse tack out of burning buildings as flames licked at his home and toxic smoke filled the air. Butch got home early Thursday evening. He could see the fire, but it was on one of the farthest peaks, and he said it was so far northeast, it looked like it would bypass his house.

It still had to cross the Freeway, and burn through thousands of acres in the Santa Monica Mountains to get to his home.

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But he hadn't accounted for the severe Santa Ana winds, and the fact that fire fighting planes can't fly at night. And just a few hours later, the fire was three miles away. She packed up four of the five dogs his giant black dog, Jake, stayed with him. But there wasn't enough time to pack up the horses, so he stayed up all night, watching as the flames approached.

A Year After Fire Destroyed Paradise, a Gutsy Group Fights to Rebuild

Thirty minutes later, the ridge closest to his house was in flames. So he filled the eaves of his house with aluminum foil, because he heard that houses catch fire when embers get into eaves. Then he sprayed all his horses with water and moved them out of the barn. It wasn't long before the fire came over hills from every angle and rushed toward his property. Butch said it rolled over each set of peaks, like waves in the ocean. And then it hits another pea k over there," he said. He dressed himself in soaking towels and ran inside to pull out his favorite saddle and a couple plastic tubs containing horse tack which later melted, but everything else — including any remaining food for his horses — ignited.

Three wooden wine barrels burnt, leaving nothing but metal rings where they once stood. The barn was so hot it melted metal inside, which trickled outside. He raced back and forth between the house and the burning barn on his quad, until the front of it melted from the heat, and he had to go on foot. Butch said the most surprising part of standing in the fire was how quickly it moved through the brush on the hillsides next to his house. Next to go was the wooden shed in front of his house. They do not ask: would you be dead if you had stayed inside?

For the record, the house is standing. At this point, I always mention that the fire came within half a block. Somehow, their little cul-de-sac was spared. The house is still standing, but the outlook is bleak. Over and over again, people said it would take at least ten years to rebuild everything that was destroyed.

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Who has that kind of time? As people do, in the aftermath of any disaster, we begin to rebuild anyway. I am given to understand that healing will be slow. Instead of running away from the thing that scares you, you run toward it. First, we make a fear ladder. We start with the things that I know cause me to be afraid: explosions, tires peeling out, the smell of smoke.

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Now, I know that the explosions I heard were transformers giving in to the blaze, but they sure sounded like machine gunshots, so I add that to my list. My homework becomes these things.

I think about fireworks. I find a smoke-scented candle and breathe it in. Always, I tell myself that I am safe. Without knowing it, for the first time, I am practicing grounding: paying attention to where I am, to how my feet connect with the earth, and to breathing. In that office, I deconstruct some of this work. People died. She smiles.

I try not to think about the rest of the time, when it is. My roommate was out of town. Its fine, I told myself. Go to sleep. This is a good thing, I know. I take the time it used to take to do something and double it.


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Sometimes, I double it again. I look back to normal. Most moments, I feel normal.

Yet, in our world, disasters still happen every day. Today, winds whipped around my town as I went about my day, bringing smoke from a forest fire nearly an hour and a half away. My breath caught a little with every gust. I look out the window cautiously, hoping to see my neighbor putting out her trashcan violently or a motorcycle in desperate need of service.

I see nothing. The street feels haunted.

Joel Osteen — I'm Still Standing

I return to the couch, wrapping myself in a blanket and rocking back and forth. What could it be? Still, I stand on my porch in the cold and watch them skitter into the sky and explode into colored light. They are beautiful, majestic, dangerous. I stay outside until the last one bursts.