Like so many of his neighbors, Nate Smith survived the Camp Fire with the clothes on his back and not much else.
But now, Smith and his neighbors are close on a level he's never experienced before. "This is the first time that I’ve felt like everybody’s family," he says. "You go into any store, and now you stop and talk for 20 minutes. Like, 'Oh, you lost your home? I lost my home. Oh come here!'"
That was the spirit with which he wrote the song "One of These Days" with his buddy Miykael Goodwin, who, like Smith, also grew up in Paradise. Goodwin lives in Chico now, and his parents' home is one of three left standing on their block in Paradise. But even those whose homes survived the Camp Fire struggle to cope with the enormity of the loss.
"The whole area's pretty much devastated," Goodwin says.
The entire town of Paradise was evacuated for more than two weeks. There's still no power. You can't flush a toilet. Birds chirp amidst a quiet hellscape of blackened trees. You have to use your imagination to picture what this community in the Sierra foothills once looked like, nestled in a sea of green Ponderosa pine.