Overwhelmed. I think that was it. Photographing in Paradise for several days got to me. Scene of the infamous Camp Fire. So much destruction.
At any rate, I've been staying in Red Bluff, about an hour away. Why? Because forget finding anything in Chico, the closest town, because so many displaced Paradise residents are living there now. The commute each am and pm is long, two lane, straight and flat. I am in Central Valley, the huge agricultural region inland from the coast in California. On the morning of Day 3 I began photographing along the way to Paradise (putting off the drive up the ridge to town?). Row after row of nut trees, almond and walnut, some fruit orchards, all bare, in January.
Rural farmland mostly. Open and expansive, a river valley in large scale with distant mountains on either side. And very beautiful.
Why stray from the stated mission to photograph the effects of the Camp Fire in Paradise? For a reprieve, a break, to come back to beauty, some serenity and sense that all is right in the world. For things are very wrong in Paradise and I don't know that it can ever be made right again.
Padlocks on a fence overlooking the canyon in Paradise.
Wooden crosses on the side of the road into Paradise to commemorate the 88 killed in the fire.
Mailboxes at the entrance to a retirement community leveled by the fire.
What is quite striking is how quiet this all is. Get away from the main street, into residential neighborhoods and walk around to find no one there. They are gone, their homes ash and dust, for there is nothing for home owners to return to. These neighborhoods are ghost towns, oddly serene, unvisited, no moms carting kids off to school, no sprinklers cycling on to water the grass, no sound of lawn mowers on Saturday mornings, no dogs barking, no joggers, no deliveries, no UPS truck bringing Amazon orders. Nothing, no life and no sound. Odd and dead and gone.
Last day today, Day 4. Back to Paradise as a wrap up, to take one more look, to see if I missed anything.