Paul Babb CZU Lightning Complex FireColumn: Julie Horner Editorial 

United Across Ridgetops

By Julie Horner 

Long weeks of not knowing. We found ourselves umbilically attached to our apps, Cal Fire heat maps and Zonehaven, FlightRadar24, PulsePoint, CalTopo and many more. From hotel rooms, RV and tent sites, the living rooms of friends and family, homesteads and familiar haunts seemed to be gone one minute then saved the next. 

When roadblocks were retracted, it was clear that the gods had cupped protective hands over historic downtown areas and their immediate avenues while nature had picked and chosen what she wanted from the rest. Neighborhoods were ash-dusted but the houses still stood just as they had been abandoned with their porch lights on and gates flung open. Miles of naked chimneys implored the sky.

A tree, felled by wind not by fire, had cleaved someone’s rustic barn in two, but the farmhouse itself was untouched. Chicken coops stood empty but remained whole. A small plot of corn rustled dryly, parched from lack of watering but not burned. A 100-year old schoolbell retrieved from the rubble of an historic schoolhouse; the harp of a piano encased in ash. From Whitehouse Canyon and Last Chance across the ridges to Bonny Doon, the communities of the Santa Cruz Mountains for a breathless moment held each other as one.

Find the October issue of the San Lorenzo Valley Post on newsstands across Santa Cruz County.

There are three ways to subscribe and receive a copy in the mail every month.

  1. Contribute $50 via Paypal at
  2. Contribute $50 or more to our GoFundMe:
  3. Send a check or money order to San Lorenzo Valley Post, PO Box 1621, Boulder Creek, CA 95006

Thank you for your support!

Photo credit: Paul Babb. Read Paul’s story behind his photo at

Related posts

Leave a Comment