My mother used to say that the sun was her boyfriend even when my father's work kept him close to home. But much to her heart's lament, those sanctioned trysts in Venezuela and Los Angeles all but disappeared when we moved to England.
Today the Hot Springs Trail in Montecito, California, has become my own family's paramour. Located just five minutes from home, she has authored countless De Albergaria adventures in nearly every weather condition imaginable.
Nearly every condition, but thankfully not all.
With a craving of its own, the 2017 Thomas Fire (Christmas on Fire: A Tale of Silver Lining) had ominous plans for our beloved trail, holding her hostage to its wrath over the course of four harrowing weeks. What was left in its wake was an apocalyptic rendition of her former self.
On the heels of our return from Carmel under mandatory evacuation orders, my husband once again took to the trail with our son unaware that they were unwitting participants in the calm before the storm.
The very next day, Hot Springs would meet an even more nefarious fate with a deadly deluge that would forever alter the trail's landscape, and more importantly, the very souls of the people she served.
Steady reminders of that tragic event depleted me of the courage I needed to revisit my muse. A few weeks ago I decided to forego my elliptical in favor of a hike and was immediately spellbound by her pastoral grace. From mere rock and soot, wildflowers sprouted at every turn with an ashen backdrop shifting into light, an allegory for life itself.
As we continue to grieve, our community grows stronger. We are the cumulation of our sorrows and joys, wins and losses, timidity and boldness. I am passionate about the belief that we are the product of life's very contradictions, a concept I try to convey through my jewelry designs.
The lesson emboldened by the recent events our community continues to endure may have been set in motion for me through my mother's own fading sun. And while there is still much to learn, taking pause to acknowledge life's ephemeral beauty is one lesson I hope to keep within my grasp in the years ahead.
#grateful #santabarbarastrong #montecitostrong