Friday, October 13, 2017

Hodgepodge 347/365 - White/Orange Fish (for 10/11)

I have just spent two days in the Sonoma County fire area. I couldn't post yesterday, and now, as I write, it's already tomorrow, so I've missed two days here. But I'll make it up.

For right now, I'll tell a little story about today.

One very small part of the Coffey
Park neighborhood, as of Monday
About fifteen of us, SAR volunteers (and one deputy) from Monterey and Sonoma Counties, plus four or five local LE (law enforcement), were tasked with sifting through the ashes of a house in Coffey Park, the neighborhood in northern Santa Rose featured so thoroughly on Monday after the horrific firestorm Sunday night. We were looking for the possible remains (bones) of a resident, an older woman, possibly wheelchair-ridden.

This is the house: it was a beautiful
neighborhood—and it's unbelievable what
a firestorm does to a neighborhood like this
My colleague Thomas and I were working a corner of the house, which looked out onto a little koi pond, now trashed. We noticed one lone living fish, white and orange, a couple of inches long (there was also one belly up).

As we worked, I kept thinking about the poor fish, and how he wouldn't survive very long in that wretched pool.

This white, this orange
(but not this pond)
Eventually Thomas, who must have been thinking the same thing, suggested that we save the fish! I would be driving home that evening, and I could take it with me! He got a bottle of water from our truck, scooped up the fish—we decided to call him Willie—and plop, into the fresh water he went. Free!

As it turned out, while we were accomplishing this task, the owner of the house arrived and told us that everyone who lived there was fine. Wonderful news!

But . . . the owner might want Willie, right? So as he and a friend were surveying the former back yard, we approached, and showed him our catch. His face lit up. He said he'd caught three others, but this one had eluded him. He seemed truly delighted. It was like these fish were a continuity for him, a bridge between the past of that beautiful house, and whatever lay before him. The fish were life.

I suggested that he call the fish Phoenix. He seemed to like that idea. Especially since he's from Phoenix.

I think I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for little white-and-orange koi/goldfish now. Phoenix, swimming from the ashes.

1 comment:

  1. Now I’ve got tears in my eyes. And thank you for searching for the possible remains of a loved one—and for saving the “smallest” of lives.