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The four of us sit still for a full minute, too humbled to move or to speak. My hand finds its way to the door handle and I cringe as the car opens with a low clunk, interrupting the total silence. I walk to the edge of the lookout to survey the apocalyptic scene, twigs crackling under every step. Everything is black. Trees snake upwards like tendrils probing the sky, stripped of their leaves and branches and devoid of life. A lone house, a casa payesa, stands tall and white in stark contrast to its surroundings; by some act of God the fire had missed it completely. From here I can see the deep blue of the beach -- our beach, the crystal clear water surrounded by charred rocks. One of the best kept secrets in Ibiza, a paradise burnt to a crisp. My brother joins me and breaks the silence: “Well, this sucks.”

I’ve always taken too much for granted. Since I was a baby we have gone to Ibiza, Spain for 6 weeks every summer, vacationing in our small house in the country. No matter how often my mother reminded me, I could never comprehend just how fortunate I was that my entire family on my dad’s side lived in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Growing up, Ibiza was like a second home to me, one that also just so happened to...

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