Jeannie Bruenning Author

Hills of Malibu

I love Malibu. I’ll never forget the first time Jeff and I drove PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) from Pismo to LAX. Entering Malibu from the north end was breath taking. The Pacific on the right and green rolling hills on the left. The hills were dotted with sprawling estates surrounded by majestic palm tree and elaborate entrance ways. As you are entering Malibu, there’s a sign that reads, 27 Miles of Scenic Beauty. Scenic Beauty does not begin to describe this masterpiece.

As the news reports began telling us of the fires, devastation, and danger, it was hard to imagine.

It’s hard to image the reality of seeing any of California terrain on fire. These majestic hills in a blaze of flames and smoke. It is even harder to imagine how those fighting these enormous blazes can get them under control. It’s nothing less than miraculous.

Returning from a cold and wintery visit to Wisconsin, we flew into LAX this morning. I was hoping to drive through Malibu on our way home but wasn’t sure if the roads were open. We entered the city limits and its beauty did not disappoint. Life appeared to be normal.

Behind Pepperdine University we saw the first signs of what the fires had done. Seconds later it was all very real. We were no longer looking up into the hills, rather, we were looking at the burnt curbsides. Mile after mile. We kept putting the camera down thinking, surely we must be at the end. But we weren’t.

Stop signs replaced traffic lights. Utility teams replacing power lines. Police vehicles blocking the entrance to all side streets. This beautiful place has changed. The news will attempt to tell the stories but they can’t possible show us real life. Those of us who are watching from a distance can’t possible know depth of the loss for those who have lost everything.

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