Amid devastating California wildfires, some residents find silver linings

Smoldering Peters Canyon Regional Park in Orange, Calif. (Photo: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

California has so far lost 23 lives and more than 170,000 acres to the wildfires that continue to rake across its wine country, and the death toll is expected to rise. But despite the apocalyptic tragedy they’re facing, some Californians have found moments of hope, and are sharing them on social media with the aim of spreading bits of joy to others.

Napa Valley resident Clark Good, for example, shared a touching moment of an elderly couple returning to what had been their home, left in ashes by the fire. When the husband, Carl, found just one fresh, unscathed lemon from their otherwise burnt tree, he said to his wife, “look hon we can have lemon in our drinks tonight!” To which she responded, “we got out alive and still have each other, we are blessed.” Good shared an image of the two beaming among the wreckage.

Carl and his wife’s positive attitude, despite having lost it all, has struck a chord with many, including the 35,000 who have liked the post. “Live, laugh and love with lemon and at least your life was saved,” noted a commenter, while another chimed in, “They were definitely blessed to be able to move forward with each other. What a fantastic attitude.”

Santa Rosa resident Susie Parker, meanwhile, found a family photograph partially burned by the flames. She posted the picture on Facebook with the hope that someone might know the family and help reunite them with their portrait, which, she noted, “might be the only thing they have left.”

Others have shared stories of praise for the incredible work being done by exhausted firefighters.

Nancy Gallagher Cortesi, who is an aunt of a firefighter from Novato, Calif., publicly thanked a family that fed her nephew and his team.

“Our community is amazing,” wrote a commenter on the post, which has been liked more than 8,900 times. “Everyone is coming together to take care of one another during this devastating time.” Another noted, “There are some amazing heroes in our communities. We all need to help take care of them and those who have become victims of these fires.”

A couple from Sonoma County shared a touching photo of them kissing in the middle of the rubble and ashes of what had been their home, along with a simple caption: “Love is all there is.”

The woman behind that post, Katie Rose Delzell, also shared another photo of her former home, with a caption that is meant to bring a chuckle:  “Well…I guess I get that bathroom remodel after all.”

The Delzell family has three small children under the age of 6, and supporters have started a GoFundMe page to help them get back on their feet.

These inspiring stories and others like them have been beams of light for many across the state. As one California resident shared in an Instagram post praising firefighters, “This is absolutely heartbreaking and so hard to see but there is good that comes out of all this. I know that there are so many great people out there strangers that will lend a helping hand. Prayers to all.”

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