Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Second Glance


Okay, I've given the town of San Jacinto a second look -- this time with a little more knowledge than first impressions allow. The smoke has cleared so the mountains that we could not see when we first arrived are now visible.
From chatting with the locals, we have learned that this last spring, fire swept across the mountains you see here. Even before the fire they were not like the mountains you see in Colorado or New Mexico which are covered with pine and aspen trees. The best these hills could hope for is desert brush, and by the looks of things, tumble weeds. But now they are bare. This area gets very little rain on an "average" year, but one of Rick's insureds told him that they have not had any significant rain at all in the past twelve months. Add desert sand and 90 to 100 mile winds and you've got, well, a "catastrophic event." Thus, we are here.
A large part of the population are folks 55 and over. The neighborhood you see here is one of several retirement parks. Yards are small and homes were once mobile. Roof damage is plentiful and many trees uprooted, some fallen on carports and homes.
As we drive through other neighborhoods we see sand drifted in back yards three and four feet high. Today I saw a man vacuuming his front yard with a shop vac. (That was a first for me.)What looked like a sandlot was actually a green, well watered and manicured lawn buried beneath inches of sand. The man vacuumed until his canister was full, then he dumped it in the gutter. The city has front end loaders that go around and scoop up the sand, then they haul it away in trucks. In the same neighborhood, one house had a sand drift on the roof at least 8 inches deep.
Homes and cars have inches of sand inside, and because there are so many dairies in the area, a lot of that sand has manure and hay mixed with it. I talked to one insured on the phone who said he had 4 inches of mud in the bottom of his swimming pool. One lady told me she had about an inch of manure/sand in her kitchen cabinet drawers.
So now I wonder, upon second glance, what this town might look like if it weren't for the drought, the fire, and the wind storm. It might not be so ugly after all.
It makes me think about some folks I know. You know some too. Those folks that are less than beautiful, unlovable, different. What would they be like if not for the drought, fire and storms in their lives?
Maybe they deserve a second glance too.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

WEll...as to getting Mom on her phone, she was afraid she'd run out of battery since she doesn't have a car charger--so her phone was off most of the time. Everything did go well. Anna was in surgery for only about thirty minutes. The dr. said that her tissue was healthy...
As to Anna's blog, I have NO idea what's up with it. I'm sure Anna will have it running soon. She'll probably spend some of Saturday perfecting it!
It looks like you guys are in an interesting spot!
We love you both!