Natural Beauty and The Beast | TheUnion.com

Natural Beauty and The Beast

We were in search of a place to retire. Driving through the states of Washington and Oregon did not produce anything that was appealing to us. It was suggested we drive up to Grass Valley, which was in gold country. On the drive up Highway 49, the beauty of the tall trees lining each side of the road overwhelmed me. I remember thinking, “this is where I want to be.” –far away from the flat, vegetation-free city of Anaheim, which was slowly being filled with concrete structures.

It was the Fourth of July weekend, and most businesses were closed save one real estate office with one agent manning the phones. We entered the office and asked what kinds of properties were available. “Have you looked at Lake Wildwood?” she asked.

We had to admit we never heard of the place. So, she led us down the hill and into a gated community that was more than a paradise to us. By August 10, we were living in a rental and actively searching for a home to buy.

For 25 years, we have enjoyed the beauty of this little paradise with its expansive lake, wild (yet tame) roaming animals, lush green parks, majestic trees, and exceptionally friendly people.

Little did we know that the same natural beauty that attracted us would be the very cause of what could drive us away.

I am referring, of course, to the threat of wildfires that has dominated our lives in the past few years. Of course, that threat has always existed, but in the last two years, it is affecting us financially as well as physically.

Clearing our lots and cutting down trees is no small expense not to mention the gaping holes it has left in our landscapes. Adding insult to injury, the insurance companies are canceling us right and left without regard to the preventative measures we are taking to safe guard our properties.

Our challenges, however, are nothing compared to the devastation we have witnessed in other parts of the world.

Fires, hurricanes, and tornados have ravaged communities and left millions homeless and without means to survive. We watch the images on TV and know that it is happening; but, it is only when it hits home does it become real to us.

Fire season is here again. We all have prepared as much as we could. It is in the hands of Mother Nature now. Or is it? Stay tuned.


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