David Z gave the talk on Saturday revisiting themes from the book, which started stirring it up in my mind, three years on. It was nice to have Colleen in attendance at the talk as well; I had her sign a copy of the book for me before she left, and since my original plan to spend the afternoon at the beach was hampered by lingering fog, I spent a good chunk of time instead in the hammock on the roof getting into the book, before polishing it off after dinner.
It is somewhat disconcerting to read about yourself in the third person, especially in constructed dialogue, but I had already got a little inured to that from reading extracts she had sent me to check over - and since I seem to keep making appearances in other people's blogs, and no, I am not going to link to them here, I shall probably have to get more used to this. I have my own version of the events of that time, particularly the diary entries I wrote while I was there, a redacted version of which I shared with Colleen, but of course those are very partial, for all that I can extrapolate and parse what I was thinking. What I enjoyed most about the book was getting to have other points of view laid out, to have a sense of what was going on in other people's minds - the title of this post comes from Colin, who remembered the line from Jaws as the scale of the fire became more apparent, which was certainly the funniest moment in the book for me - though other people I have spoken with appreciated most how the dharma is skillfully woven into the narrative. Certainly I came away at the end thinking the tale had been as fully and accurately recounted as one could wish.
I have a good visual record of the experience as well, unsurprisingly, so this was an excuse to go through and look at some of the pictures. I did a disc for people who were down there at the time, and there were more intimate and more mundane shots that I haven't shared, but it is the colours of the sky that mostly stand out now:
|Looking up the road from the Tony Trail, June 29th|
|Climbing Hawk Mountain, July 2nd|
|Helicopter taking water from the Narrows, July 2nd|
|This photo gets used a lot without the fire context; Junipero Serra, July 5th|
|Pluming to the west, July 6th|
|View from the Solar Panels, July 8th|
|Fuel - as mentioned in the book|
|The Indiana Crew and residents, as mentioned in the book, lunchtime, July 9th|
|This was the view I thought looked like death, central area, 3:45pm, July 9th|
|Carrying out the Buddha, 5:45pm, July 9th|
|Airtankers douse the road for the evacuation, 6pm July 9th|
|The view from Lime Point during the evacuation, 6:10pm July 9th|
|The view back towards Tassajara as the others were deciding to return, 6:30pm, July 9th|