There are a number of terrible wildfires burning nearby right now and the valley I live in is filled with smoke. We get smoke pretty much every summer at some point but this blew in (literally, on once-in-a-generation easterly winds) within minutes and it’s worse than I’ve ever seen it before. The sun is a blood-red ball and the skies are dark greyish-yellow, casting an unsettling light that doesn’t feel anything close to normal. The air is filled with ashy particles that almost look like snow, they’re almost pretty in how they drift and dance, in the way that flames can be mesmerizing even as they obliterate.

The outside matches the inside, is what I keep thinking. Everything everywhere feels like it is burning, acres and acres that are literally engulfed and people in beds with soaring temperatures. Violence in the streets and people struggling to breathe. Angry rhetoric being spat by our great leader adding more fuel to it all.

Our phones keep jittering and buzzing with emergency alerts and everything smells black and scorched and it’s hard to remember that even after the worst fires there is new growth. It’s hard to imagine what things might eventually look like, here in the burn.

Comments

10 Responses to “Zero percent containment”

  1. LizScott on September 9th, 2020 2:21 pm

    Honestly, I thought the apocalypse would be less…full of mundane routine tasks. Like, cool, the world is ending, also let me go make some kid lunches that won’t get eaten. Where is my Will Smith montage? Sheesh.

  2. Leslie on September 9th, 2020 3:15 pm

    Great. F’ing. Analogy. Hope you all stay safe through the fires. And I cling to the fact that there is always new growth after devastation – I certainly hope that for our country and world.

  3. PETE J HAIDINYAK on September 9th, 2020 4:46 pm

    I hope your family is safe and well

  4. Mary Walsh on September 10th, 2020 5:51 am

    Very apt analogy. For what it’s worth, I’m thinking good thoughts for you family and the towns/homes in Oregon.

  5. Suzanne on September 10th, 2020 6:31 am

    Beautifully, hauntingly said.

    Hoping you and your loved ones stay safe.

  6. Elizabeth_K on September 10th, 2020 7:15 am

    Be well, be safe, we are thinking of you on the west coast …

  7. Sheila on September 10th, 2020 9:40 am

    I’ve been thinking about you guys, be safe.

  8. Shawna on September 11th, 2020 7:44 am

    Every time I read about the ashy flakes, I think of The Upside Down in Stranger Things.

  9. Anu on September 14th, 2020 11:14 am

    Hope you’re staying safe!!

  10. Martha Pepek on September 14th, 2020 2:27 pm

    Thinking of you and yours and hoping you are safe. Your writing is always spot on. I love that I am peripherally connected to quite a few brilliant, prolific, writers who always manage to put into words that which I am feeling in the moment.

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