“Why? Why? Why?”, comes the chorus of questions from my friends and relatives back East. How can somebody with a modicum of intelligence live where you can burn to death any second, to say nothing of earthquakes, mudslides, rattlesnakes, and mountain lions. My questioners look at television and conclude that we here in Malibu must live in constant fear of immediate disaster.

The fact is that we Malibuites are suffering from some of that post traumatic stress disorder. If we are honest, we must confess that we too ask ourselves why we remain here.  Every time we hear a siren, or see smoke in the air, or see flames on television, we suffer. We take it personally. If we hear of a fire no matter how far away, we ask whether it is time to pack our cars and to evacuate to safer ground. 

This is all a natural reaction to the catastrophe we suffered last November. But we who choose to live here know exactly why we do so. Many of us can afford to live anywhere in the world we want to, and yet we choose to remain right here. 

Why is that? For me, the answer is not all that complicated. I am now looking over the calm Pacific Ocean which is totally undisturbed by fire. Surfers are out riding the waves as if all is fine under the sun. There is not a cloud in the sky and the temperature is a balmy 72 degrees, whereas my friends in New York are shivering with early November temperatures in the 30’s.      

The sun will soon be setting over the ocean, and I will once again enjoy one of the most extraordinary views in the universe. 

And I can enjoy all of this with talented, interesting, creative friends who share an appreciation of all that Malibu has to offer and a firm resolve not to allow paradise to be turned into a parking lot. 

We live in a city where there is a strong sense of community, a place where people care about their neighbors.  That’s why I remain here, and why most of us who choose Malibu as our home will stay here. 

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