I did not realize until taking the sweetest hot shower of my life that beneath the mud my legs were torn up and a bloody mess.
I sat on my elder daughter's sofa and soaked vodka over the wounds before adding Neosporin and bandages. And I held Lulu on my lap for a very long time, she swaddled in a towel, shivering.
In a daze, we took a short walk up Coast Village Road (CVR) and could hardly believe the peripheral damage to Montecito's main business thoroughfare.
Then we focused on where to go, because the power was out in my daughter's apartment and we somehow sensed there was no short-term future hanging out there. (Two days later the authorities would chase everyone out of CVR and everywhere else in Montecito. Truth be known, this was partly because people other than rescue team members were finding body parts in the mud.)
Our hotel options were limited 1) by owning pets and 2) because so many others were now in need of shelter and accommodation.
Fortunately, we struck lucky with Bacara Resort, fifteen miles to the west.
We drove in another torrent of rain, checked in and began to unwind.
I think what anyone needs most in the aftermath of such experiences is rest and quiet. You ought not re-live it in your mind over and over; you ought not fret about the future; you just live one hour at a time, focused solely on the now.
Needless to say, the Bacara Bar at cocktail hour was not just busy but full of evacuees from Montecito. Much relief at seeing others who made it out. Emotional reunions. Sometimes hard to talk. Especially when people we'd never met offered cars to drive and houses or guesthouses for longer-term accommodation.
It is amazing how people come together during a crisis.