If you live in California, this is the time of year that you pray for rain. With no precipitation since May, the hills are bone dry, so brown they are white. I hiked the hills yesterday. Not one green sprout of anything could be found anywhere.
The trees are green, but that is all. When the wind kicked up around 11:30 and the dust blew into our eyes, I had a tiny OCD moment. What if there was a fire while we were up on the trails? Our chances of getting out would not be good.
There was no fire yesterday, though huge swaths of northern regions had their power shut off yet again as the power company worried about a spark setting off another fire as bad as last year’s town of Paradise. The whole town burned down last November. 88 people died.
Power shut-offs are a huge inconvenience, especially if you are a small business owner and run a restaurant, ice cream parlor, or other establishment where no electricity equals spoiled food, not to mention lack of revenue.
I don’t own a restaurant. I understand how frustrating it must be. I still vote for the inconvenience of a power shut-off if it means no more towns will burn down.
When we finally get some rain, everyone will be able to sigh in relief. No more fire danger until next summer. We will have made it through another year. We will be able to put the go bags back in the house by the door, ready for the next earthquake.
Yes, California is due for the next big quake. Unlike hurricanes or tornados, there are no warnings for earthquakes unless you count the cats, dogs, and livestock getting restless right before they happen. They hear the vibrations or feel them.
But I digress.
After the winds die down later today, I will take my rake and go to the park next to my house and rake up the pine needles that have blown out of the big tree. I will put them in my own green can since the maintenance crew never ever rakes them up.
Kids hang out at the park, and sometimes teens do, smoking cigarettes. If the pine tree goes up in flames, then my hedge goes, then my yard, then my house. I have a vested interest in picking up those pine needles.
It’s okay. I am mostly retired, I have a good rake, and it only takes five minutes. Five minutes to prevent tragedy is totally worth it.
I will stay away from big trees with falling limbs today and will take my allergy pill. Blowing dust is bad for the body. Fire is bad for everything man-made.
As more and more houses are built up in the hills, in the forests, in the canyons, fire danger will be a way of life for those interfacing with nature.
I am in the low lands. But the park grasses are brown, the pine tree is a huge candle, and the hedge makes a ladder to my house.
Let it rain.
Couldda Wouldda Shouldda
The town on Paradise burned down in 2018,
The 45-year-old pine tree in the park blew over in a windstorm in 2019 (one month after I wrote this post).
Climate change is real, folks.