California harbor seal on rock,big sur, california THE DAY 4 ~ PFEIFFER FIRE IS 79% CONTAINED

A number of Firefighters are being deployed home today. Full fire containment expected by Friday. A ferocious brush fire on wild terrain is under control and nearly out, 4 days in.

Congratulations, Volunteer Fire Departments, Air Support Pilots, et al. Estimated burned land, under 800 acres. Homes and structures lost, about 25. About 100 people lost homes they built by hand, many 40-50 years ago, newly married, still in their teens, raising families and living in a land of unequaled beauty and ever-present danger.

I won’t guarantee I never thought against it ever in my life, but I have by now evolved a particular attitude toward land like this. I cannot fault for a millisecond the brave hearts who choose to make their home on the edge of a cliff, the curve of flooding rivers, inches from a precipice, in frozen tundra, golden desert or at the lip of a canyon.

  You take a calculated risk. You get good at escaping disaster. You live brilliantly and well in places most of the world only dreams of, or spends years saving to visit for two weeks one special summer.

And you glimpse sunrises through giant redwoods, live in intoxicating air, and stare at moonsets over crashing surf, in the process making something unique of a life. And that, after all, is what it’s for and all we’ve got. One shot at it.

Hoorah the liberty of finding ourselves, laying aside the measure of risk for the benefit of freedom. Nothing more or less than the stuff dreams are made of.No. 5 Big Sur Golf Country Club

(Big Sur, Painting Credit: Loyal H. Chapman, Artist)



  1. I had my opportunity to live in Big Sur and it was the best of times. I am saddened that the area I lived in went up in flames at least 2/3 of the land we called ours burned . I don’t think any structures currently on the land were damaged .My heart goes out there for all those that lost so much

    • I’m so sorry for your loss, that land. A friend who hiked through Cachagua to Big Sur after the fires, trails she’d grown up on, said the aftermath months later, spring, was the most incredibly beautiful thing she’d ever seen. Rampant wildflowers, new green, ferns. But I know, Lanny. Really impossible to stand such as this. Homes. The months ahead will be a rough go for people re-building, and they will, and what’s new will have all the things added they’d been wishing for years were in the original plans. More deck, extra rooms, second floor, screened porch, lily ponds, Roman tubs, a waterfall, bigger kitchen, and stuff that works. God bless them all. Thank you for your words.

      • Yes they will rebuild and it will be better , alas my days of Big Sur are behind me and I have built in Baja nothing fancy but more than enough for me with city sewer city water I can walk to the store or walk to the sea of Cortez . I still travel up highway 1 at least once a year, the land with all its features is still there as it is in my memory I do miss it but it is still in my heart

        • Being within walking distance of groceries AND the Sea of Cortez sounds pretty wonderful, sandy beaches and sunshine have a great deal to offer any heart. It’s been in the 30’s overnight for weeks now, and though middays warm to the 60’s maybe, it’s cold. Kind of a rare season, hope it’s a hot January. NYC is 70 degrees. Sigh.
          I met a woman here once 15 years plus ago, she’s just survived losing her house in the LA fires, was it Malibu? A nice woman with a little girl. We’re seeing a good lot of backbone in Big Sur. It’s fine country, strong people in it. Thanks, Lanny.

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