12 August 2008

big sur fire

Unless you've been hiding in a hole for the past few weeks, you've no doubt heard about the fire in Big Sur which destroyed more than 64,000 acres and over 30 houses; the biggest natural disaster in Big Sur history. One of these homes was Mike Gilson's, the owner of the Big Sur Bakery (the cookbook that I've been working on for over a year). Mike is a sweet, gentle guy and has such an inviting personality. He's someone you can be around when you're on fire with stress and within minutes, you'll feel relaxed and happy you're alive. I went to what was left of his property yesterday and we searched through some incredible belongings, one of which was a pile of "books" that if touched, would turn to dust. A couple of the only things remaining of the house were the dishwasher and bathtub.
There are so many philosophical levels in this place, one of most importance (in my opinion) is how we define 'self' through the objects we surround ourselves with. How can a human be a "person" through their stuff when all of the stuff is ash? This also brings up the question: what would you take with you from your house if you had an hour to evacuate?