They Had No Faces to Show

Tully Rohrer

May 25th, 2007

We didn’t sleep too late.
There was a fire in the yard.
All of the trees were in light.
They had no faces to show.

Song of the Day: Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans
If you don’t have this song, download it first, then read this description. Listening to this song and looking at this picture is probably as close to actually living through the fire and the evacuation as you can get.

This was our final view of the island from the ferry. The boat took almost 500 people away with this grim image ingrained in our minds. For the next week, this was all we could picture. The helicopters had stopped flying - the terrain on Catalina was too rough and dangerous to try to navigate at night in the thick smoke. Eerie silence, fire, and blackness. Most of the students were silent as well, awestruck by the uncontrollable nature of the fire.

This image is blurry and chaotic, as much of that evening was for most of us. It almost perfectly captures the essence of the moment - as much as this is just a snapshot, it also perfectly portrays the emotion of the scene.

Wow. This is one of the most powerful images I have seen yet. What a traumatic experience that must have been. It’s comforting to know that you are well, but devastating to know what damage just a few sparks can do.

Alex M — May 25th, 2007

You seemed so calm at the campsite. You take things well, Tully. And you’re way too smart and you explain everything so well; i learned so much from you. The astroblasting nemos… we could’ve created a better name than that. But we beat everyone at the jeopardy so its ALL good. [:

YASMINE — May 25th, 2007

Wow, Tully. I just showed some colleagues of mine these images of the fire and it really brought to life the story and the memories for me. Thanks for keeping these up.

Jamie W — August 3rd, 2010

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