Human Nature


(I had to include Bjork, because the term “Human Nature” reminds me of “Human Behavior”, and also, I just love Bjork.  I even loved that swan dress, because it was just so her, kooky and offbeat and not the least bit ashamed.)

We recently had a big fire on our local mountain, Mt. Diablo.  Summers in California can be very dry and hot, and it doesn’t take much to start a bunch of dried grass to burning.  So Sunday, someone was out doing some target shooting (I pictured bows and arrows for some reason, when I heard the cause of the fire, which was illogical indeed) with their gun, and hot bullet and perhaps some friction and the next thing you know, fire.

This is how it looked during the day.

Mt. Diablo on Fire

And the nighttime shots were hellish, resembling perhaps a volcano.  Not inappropriate for a mountain named “Devil Mountain”.
Mt. Diablo on Fire at Night

There were perhaps 700 firefighters out in almost 100 degree heat, fighting the fire, and the local community was engrossed.  The area that was burning was a state park, which borders communities on several sides, and there was some concern that the 3,000 acre blaze might destroy some homes.  The firefighters prevailed, however, and the fire is now out, with no loss of life (wildlife, I’m sure, but no humans or horses…there are lots of horses in the area surrounding the state park) and no homes damaged or destroyed.

While the rest of the country was focused on Syria, or perhaps still mumbling about Miley Cyrus’s tongue dance, we were locally engrossed on the fire, stories about the fire, the firefighters, and the community. I was struck by two different stories, which for some reason brought the term, “Human Nature” to mind.  The stories were the sort that either strengthen your belief in humanity, or cause you to question it, depending on which story you read.

First is the story of the community, especially the town of Clayton (closest to the fire), really coming together to support the firefighters.  So much bottled water and food were brought to the fire station that they had to finally say, we don’t need any more, thank you. 700 firefighters up against 100 degree heat, in all of that gear and everything, they needed a LOT of water. It was really heartwarming to read the stories of people doing what people can do so well…coming together in times of danger and strife, doing their best to help each other and supporting the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way.

Then there’s the story of individuals (perhaps one, perhaps more), who took advantage of the situation. One of our local firehouses was left empty when the entire crew went to fight the fire, and someone broke in and robbed the place. Stolen were personal items. Wedding rings. iPads. That kind of stuff. (Not that wedding rings and iPads are the same kind of stuff, except perhaps that they’re both valuable). Really shitty behavior, I would say. Another local firehouse was also broken into, but firefighters were there (sleeping), so the thief ran away.

I see human nature in both of these stories, both the desire to help and do what is right, as well as the willingness to try to take advantage of a situation and who cares who else is hurt. I guess what’s heartening is that while many, many people came out to help as best they could, very few took advantage and showed their worst.

This entry was posted in Musings.

9 thoughts on “Human Nature

  1. Dramatic photos. Fire is the thing that always scares me especially forest fires living out as we do. As you said, your story illustrates the best and worst of human nature.

    • Those were some fabulous pictures, weren’t they? It was an impressive spectacle on Sunday and Monday, then the wind shifted and we couldn’t see anything from our house. Not that we saw anything this spectacular from our house…

  2. So you are Maya’s daughter? I remember her blog and loved her independent nature. I must link you to my blog roll list and thank your for commenting and visiting.

    • Tabor, yes, I’m Maya’s mom. I went over to Rain’s blog after she commented, and remembered your name from my mom’s blog, so I popped over there. Thanks for stopping by!

    • I was so glad to hear about the jewelery store offering new rings and watches for those lost. Even if they can’t accept, it’s another vote for good triumphing over evil in the hearts of everyday people. I hope that there is insurance at the firehouse to cover burglaries.

  3. Since I am woefully geographically ignorant, I am always wondering if you are anywhere near when the fires or mudslides or tremors break out in California.

    I like to think that the majority of people are good even though I know from experience that there are always some that are wired wrong and will do something just awful. Then, as in Ted’s comment, another good guy will come forward and save the day. Early in our relationship, Rick used to talk about becoming a firefighter. I did all I could to quell that ambition. It worked, and I’m glad.

    • Nance, we’re outside of San Francisco, at the base of this mountain. (Though our house is a couple of miles away) I don’t know NEO at all, so I do understand the geography thing. :)

      I agree, most people are mostly good. We all have our failings, but most of us aren’t scummy enough to steal wedding rings from firefighters who are out there putting themselves into harm’s way.

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