In my 33 years in California (one and a half down south, the rest up north), I can’t remember a fall where we have not had a drop of rain by mid-November. I also can’t remember ever having three big fires in less than two years that have burned down whole communities due to crazy high winds and dry, dry, dry everything.
Yesterday the town of Paradise was destroyed by fire. 27,000 people living on a mountain, their houses tucked into the trees, all is gone. The downtown went, too, along with the high school, restaurants, everything. The highway down the mountain was in gridlock for hours. People abandoned their cars and climbed in with others. Fire was all around the vehicles, embers hitting the windshield. Talk about hell on earth!
Today it is so smoky I can’t walk my dogs. The short trips I made from car to exercise class, car to post office, car to bank, car to sister and then home has left my head full of smoke. I am not going to make my headache worse by going outside for thirty minutes.
It was cold this November morning, and I flipped on the furnace for the first time. Then I realized the furnace would draw in the outside air, so I flipped it back off. Better to be cold than smoky.
I just ate a bowl of soup to warm up. Chicken is baking in the oven. The dogs are whiny; they want to exercise. The Jack Russell lost her home in the Napa fire last year and got shipped to my county to be rescued by me.
I look out my kitchen slider and see white sky that should be blue. It is darker than it should be; the sun is blocked. Now I can see it, a bright red ball in the sky. It would be great day to clean out my office, if only I had the heart to do it.
My fountain out back is nearly empty. Lots of critters have been getting a drink. I need to fill it up, but once again, I don’t want to venture outside. The bird feeder is full, but there are no visitors. How many birds will die from the smoke? Where are they now? I saw a crow flying, but the song birds are gone.
The trees are rustling in today’s wind. Yesterday the trees were losing leaves and branches as fifty mile an hour gusts shook out the dead pine needles, and all smart people took down their patio umbrellas and put away their cushions.
I spray-painted a vintage picture frame two days ago and left it on the patio table to dry, with the glass taped off but still in place. Yesterday morning I noticed the frame had blown off the table and landed on the ground. By some miracle the glass hadn’t broken. It was enough of a warning for me to take the pots off my tower shelf on the porch and put them down low where they wouldn’t blow over.
What is this new thing that is making autumn a nervous waiting game for us Californians, to see where the next fire will break out? We haven’t had precipitation since April. It is almost Thanksgiving.
Oh, that’s right I have heard of something. What was it called? Something about the climate? About changes happening because of too many carbon emissions from all of our cars, trucks, and factories? Something man-made that could be stopped or at least slowed down if people would wake up and smell the consequences? Something called climate change?
You may not think it’s real, but it couldn’t be any more real than it is today in sunny (I mean smoky) California.
Couldda Shouldda Wouldda
We should’ve had Al Gore as our president.