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Happy Winter Solstice! And news from the #ThomasFire in Ventura CA

December 21, 2017

 

 

Today is the Solstice, and here in the northern hemisphere, it is the first day of Winter — and the shortest day and the longest night. It’s a time to reflect and be grateful for the return of the Sun.

“The sun shines along the passage floor into the inner chamber at newgrange during the 2013 Winter Solstice.” Photograph: Alan Betson https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/winter-solstice-at-newgrange-broadcast-live-around-the-world-1.3332820#.WjtbG7rjkrY.facebook

It’s a magical time at many places around the world because people have marked this transition from darkness to light in many special ways like New Grange above where the light shines through this portal.

I’ve been missing in action here on Art Predator because #ThomasFire erupted in Ventura county on Monday December 4, 2017 and spread to Santa Barbara County and before it is through, it is predicted to be the largest fire in California’s history possibly reaching 275,000 acres and not fully contained until early January. 

While we did not have to evacuate, the fire hit too close to home: mandatory evacuations were just one block away from where we live, and we know too many people who have lost their homes.

The fire hit right during the last week of classes, disrupting school for colleges and universities in the area including UC Santa Barbara and Ventura College where I teach which was repeatedly evacuated and then closed down due to unhealthy air and water. It was insane trying to figure out how to get research projects and other work that was due plus final exams so that students would get credit for all of the hard work they had done.

Thomas fire in Meiners Oaks, CA near the famous Ranch House Restaurant (photo by John Walsh)

For the final essay exam, one of the questions I posed was to tell their fire story, and to connect with at least two course texts. They could also write about he fire and tell their story for extra credit. I will be publishing a few of these in the coming days — I am sure you will be as moved by them as I am.

I did somehow manage to get a few posts up at Wine Predator because I had deadlines and commitments and it also gave me a chance to talk about the fire:

So let us take a few minutes here to celebrate the occasion: while over a quarter of a million acres have been burned and perhaps a thousand structures destroyed, only two people have died: one fireman and a woman who died in her car during evacuation.

as of 12/21/17

If you are so moved, please DONATE TO THOMAS FIRE VICTIMS.
Text UWVC to 41444 and 100% of the donations will go directly to those affected by the fires.

In addition to sharing some of the essays from my students, I will be sharing a few of the many worthy GoFundMe links as well as photos from friends.

I don’t know if the following is a solstice ceremony or not, but it seems fitting to the occasion.

 

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 22, 2017 8:27 am

    Happy holidays Gwen! I look forward to reading your students’ posts as well as whatever else you are working on for 2018. Take care and be well!

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