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  #1  
Old 10-11-2020, 03:43 PM
Scott Chastain's Avatar
Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default The Sands of Aftermath

In October of that year, there yet persisted a thick brown scud of smoke over the great San Joaquin Valley, a constant reminder that the fires ignited by bolts of lightning nearly two months earlier continued to gnaw through the California countryside and nibble at the containment perimeters which had been agonizingly shoveled, bulldozed, and berm-formed by firefighters. Temporary flight restrictions blazed out a geography that made the West appear stricken as if by the firestorms of war.



There came that Saturday morning the call for us to depart for the shores of the Pacific where, at least until an approaching trough heaved the thick smoke of destruction eastward, our day was set aside to walk through the sands of Oceano (L52), to contemplate the coming of a completely different firestorm.



After landing, we covered up the canopy of the RV-8 and spent just a few moments in the pilots lounge before heading toward the beach on foot.





Just beyond the airport was a campground that was filled to capacity. It was clear that Americans were still very much embracing the mindset of escape, of adventure, even as the last bastion of summer was now being swept away by the cool autumn winds from the west.



It was late morning. The beaches of Oceano were fairly populated by the people visiting that day, but walking a couple of miles southward, we soon realized just how devoid of humanity the place had become only recently. The crushing onslaught of a pandemic had made what was once a bustling, throng-filled stretch of beachfront a deserted sea of sand. A dark shadow cast down from a drifting contrail pierced the population below.





Cutting inland along the deserted beach, we discovered a series of dunes where we relaxed in the sun for a time. We watched as a powerful sign from above pushed steadily eastward, carrying with it the smoke of California’s firestorms.



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  #2  
Old 10-11-2020, 03:44 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default The Sands of Aftermath

When we began hiking back to the north across the dunes, we discovered washouts of charred debris that sporadically appeared for miles between the curved, swirling, and unadulterated sands that piled up around them. The washouts lay before us like roads of blackened refuse.



We were alone. Not a soul breathed for miles around us. And as we proceeded back toward Oceano along the trail of washouts, we realized what we were beholding: Before us grew the vision of an aftermath---a firestorm the likes of which humanity had never before experienced nor ever would again---and while there lay in its undisturbed state a panorama of beauty extracted precisely from the human condition, yet there was a disturbing sense in the Spirit of just how unprepared the world was for such a catastrophe. The result had washed ashore, and we beheld it with perfect clarity.

















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  #3  
Old 10-11-2020, 03:45 PM
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Default The Sands of Aftermath











The beds of charcoal and human waste, stretching outward for miles and miles, continued to reveal the hand of mankind in their making, while the eastward push of the winds pressed on to envelop the world with a vision for the future, unheeded though it would be.









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Last edited by Scott Chastain : 10-11-2020 at 03:57 PM.
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  #4  
Old 10-11-2020, 03:47 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default The Sands of Aftermath











A pair of bones, arrayed in the windblown sand as if suddenly stilled in a dance with one another, pointed toward the final mile of aftermath through which we walked under the groans of the distant and pounding surf.







Closing out the day, we departed in the orange angles of the evening sun, and in so doing left to Providence whatever consequences might follow. And while the beauty of flight and the freedom to take to the skies yet prevailed, we nevertheless took stock in the wisdom given us that day, in the urgent whisperings among the dunes of destruction, in the sands of aftermath, that it was better to plan ahead than to call curses upon the past. Our freedom depended upon it.



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  #5  
Old 10-11-2020, 07:42 PM
Taltruda Taltruda is offline
 
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Is all that stuff for sale? How much for shipping to 89129. I'll take the blue fish head, the rusty pliers and the dental pick.thanks.
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  #6  
Old 10-12-2020, 01:57 PM
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Fascinating story thank you Scott
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  #7  
Old 10-13-2020, 09:37 AM
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None of the pics are loading for me.
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  #8  
Old 10-13-2020, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Chastain View Post
The beds of charcoal and human waste, stretching outward for miles and miles, continued to reveal the hand of mankind in their making, while the eastward push of the winds pressed on to envelop the world with a vision for the future, unheeded though it would be.
Humans are the fire ants of the world.
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