When Bad Things Happen

California is on fire…again. Each occurrence seems to set a new record for destruction and loss of life. The entire town of Paradise is gone and with it, 23 lives and countless animals, domestic and wild.

The thick smoke has drifted and settled in our valley turning the landscape an eerie orange –

blocking out the sun and delivering an early cold that caused a premature freezing of tender fall blooms.

It is tempting to complain about the suffocating air – until you remember that the smoke carries with it the lives, memories, and homes of others.

How do you reconcile the weight of tragedy against our day-to-day lives? When the world seems so full of hate and hurt? When the homeless still sleep in our streets? When our very planet is under assault? Or an entire town is reduced to ash?

And yet – dogs still need to get out to run,



and be comforted.

The garden still needs tending and planting if we are to celebrate spring.

I left my smoke-filled home this morning and arrived at the rescue which was miraculously nearly clear – blue sky rising above a layer of smoke.

As the flowers of late fall replace fallen dahlias,

and new pups take the place of those adopted,

I am reminded of life’s cycles and the beauty –

and hope –

that still surround.

When you cannot stop horrors from happening, find a way to help. Provide a roof to someone who lost theirs. Foster an animal to bring peace of mind to humans as they struggle to cope. Send money or donate items.
In times of bad, demonstrate good.

Here is a list of ways you can help in Northern California, provided by the Camp Fire’s local paper.

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I am a nascent gardener, rescuer, and photographer, chronicling the journey of the dogs at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary near Sacramento, CA - and the Memorial Garden we have devoted to them.

7 thoughts on “When Bad Things Happen”

  1. How nice to see a list already materializing with ways to help! Thank you for sharing it. Tending a garden and caring for the pups is work with significance and meaning. This is a time to truly focus on the blessings of what we have, and then how to share them with those who are without. It is very sobering.

  2. I am sitting here in the comfort of my home after just watching a news report on the fires. It always breaks my heart because it seems to never end for you guys. I don’t know what the answer is with regard to the fires, but I certainly agree with you about demonstrating good at this particular time.

  3. I didn’t know there are fires again. Such a beautiful place and in such danger all the time. Why do the fires happen? I thought it’s already too late for them, or there’s no autumn as such in California? Stay safe. I’m so sad with you for people and animals. You’ve got beautiful dogs 🙂

  4. Beautiful photos and thoughts to go along with them. I wish there was a way to send some rain out that way to help put out the fires. We’ve had more than enough of the wet stuff lately – and more in the forecast. I pray that you, the rescue, and all the animals remain safe from the fires.

  5. Uplifting post – in times of bad, demonstrate good. Simple and straightforward. Uncomplicated. There are – and will always be – tragic situations unfolding around us and wringing our hands helplessly does nothing but create more anxiety. We all can help in small personal ways that make a difference. In times of bad, demonstrate good.

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