Today, I watched Sky Valley, quite literally, go up in smoke…

From my vantage point at Sage Ranch, I could see our work area burn. I could see the Santa Monica Mountains beyond it. I realized the column of smoke I was looking at, were the Visitor Center, the State Park District Offices, and ALL those Oak trees in Malibu Creek State Park, all going up in smoke. My “Office”.

My chest hurt… …I wept…

To say this is a disaster would be a gross understatement. This is a permanent change to the Santa Monica Mountains. They are not likely to recover completely. That’s in addition to the human cost, the families displaced, the homes destroyed, schools closed, and missing people… My father lives in Paradise, CA. The town no longer exists. There’s an outside chance his home is still standing. He and my son are in a hotel in Redding.

They had to get out so fast, no one had time to do anything except get in the car and go. Many people didn’t get out… …it happened so fast…

Today, I watched a years worth of work for 25 people, go up in smoke…

I’m reminded of the words of Rudyard Kipling;


If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can make a heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;”

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

Ironic words. The Sky Valley Volunteers work just became that much more important. I met with Wendi and a couple of volunteers this morning. We were all sick… We all want to go on. Our work is vital. We are going to need more people…

Tomorrow and Sunday, I’ll be at our Shade House at Orcutt Ranch Community Gardens from 7-10ish. If you are a present volunteer, or if you are interested in the program, stop on by. I’ll be planting seeds, stratifying and germinating acorns… and maybe doing some potting. I could use the help. It will make you feel good to work for the community.

The Sky Valley Volunteers Program is working. I’ve told people to stick with us, and they will change the world. This is where we DO it!

We have a mountain to heal.

John Luker,
Save Chatsworth, Inc


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