The season we dread.

The California “wildfire season” has gotten off to an early and roaring start. In this era, mailings from the power company and other agencies remind us ahead of time that here, in addition to the usual four seasons, we have Fire, which can overlap both Summer and Fall. Others of you have Hurricane, which is another season that could be nicknamed “Scary.”

I don’t enjoy writing about flames and destruction, loss of buildings and human lives, and I trust that we all see plenty of horrific images of such things already. But because the location on my home page says “Northern California,” you might wonder if I’m okay. Yes, I am. I don’t live in a hilly, woodsy area, and my town has its power lines underground, so generally this is a less fire-risky place to live.

friend on bulldozer

But many of my friends nearby have been evacuated, as the same ones were last year. In the Santa Cruz Mountains, the homes of other dear people are in danger, or may be gone. I pray that they are saved! I wrote about that area in a couple of posts here; this one, Bridges and Streams, has the most photos that will give you an idea of the terrain. It’s where my husband and I honeymooned, where his grandma had two cabins at different times, and of which most of our children retain strong memories.

Currently the only direct effect on me seems silly to mention. Smoke drifts through from nearby fires; I keep checking the AirVisual app to see if I am in the “Good” green range, or if the Air Quality Index has jumped past “Moderate” to “Unhealthy.” Daughter Pippin is not close to a fire, but has been suffering from unremitting high smoke levels for days and is on her way to Oregon in hopes of being able to breathe at least a little better up there.

If Green seems likely to last an hour or more and it’s not midday, I open the windows to cool off the house; most homes around here don’t have AC. So far we’ve had a Green period once or twice a day, and the recent heat wave has ended, so all is tolerable. But I did just order air purifiers, so that if evacuees need to come here, it will be a reliable refuge from smoke as well as danger.

This morning I woke thinking of a blogger I’d been missing. When I looked her up on my little phone, for some reason the first post that came up was from April of ’19. This was one of those Divine Meetings that angels can arrange, evidently even by means of WordPress Reader. Because it is about the Notre Dame fire, and includes a video (best to click through from her site) of the people who gathered to sing as they watched the devastation. I knew about that response but hadn’t seen any footage before. It was just what I needed, a connection to the prayers and sorrows of people everywhere, a reminder to sing myself. I know quite a few hymns that are appropriate.

Lord, have mercy!

24 thoughts on “The season we dread.

  1. Gretchen, I do think of you when I see all the scary California news so am glad you’re explaining things here today. Is a rainy season near? Does that usually happen in September the way it does in TN? The air quality seems possible to badly affect so many too but every time I see footage of wildfires, whatever part of the country, I think of how absolutely scary that must be. My sister’s son, his wife and their daughter live in San Francisco and last year they were ready to evacuate when I seem to remember relief came through it changing direction or something. I also think about the Gulf coast and the storms that may be bad approaching there. Evacuating is even scarier when there’s a pandemic. As you ended your post, Lord, have mercy!

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    1. We might get a little rain in September and October, but the real rainy season — if it’s not a drought year! — is November through March.

      I notice that the air quality in San Francisco is worse than here. They must be getting the drift from the East Bay. 😦

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    1. No, I can see the man inside. (His brother was driving another one!) The picture was posted by his mother, and by another man whose property this “firefighting bulldozer” was working to protect.

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      1. Wow! Brave souls! I can’t imagine the terror these poor people must feel about the dangerous fires. But maybe they turn it into a productive anger, which energizes them to face and fight that danger. Prayers for them.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been terribly concerned about friends, bloggers and otherwise, in California. I know you are well aware of what to do if it gets bad. I just hope you don’t have to do it. All good thoughts and prayers to this beautiful state and its people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They didn’t find cleaner air in eastern Oregon, where they had planned to camp, and ended up in a hotel. I also didn’t have any periods of clean air today, and the AQI went into the high 200’s.

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  3. It grieves me so to see the destruction, and it seems so odd that, while your concern is fire, ours is water. Marco, bless his heart, has just faded away, but Laura is nearly past Cuba, and ready to begin strengthening into a major hurricane. We are, as they say, in the bulls-eye, although late wobbles one way or another can happen. Still, we have the ability to prepare in a way that your fires don’t always allow.

    I’ve decided to stay put for this one, rather than evacuating. I’ve been through a Category 3, and while it was seriously unnerving (the NOISE!) I just can’t bring myself to go through what evacuation would require. Tomorrow, I’ll pull out the insurance papers, charge up the electronics, and begin waiting. It may amuse you to know that waiting here is called “the Cantore watch.” It’s well known that wherever the Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore shows up is going to be very close to ground zero.

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    1. I guess the hurricanes are easier to track than the fires… but maybe there is just no comparing the pros and cons of impending disasters. I haven’t paid much attention to the hurricanes in the news this season, so I am happy to hear directly and personally from someone who is intimate with that particular weather-nature-human interaction. I trust your dwelling place is as sturdy as can be, and that if you are under siege, it will be a brief roar. I would also want to stay put!

      Last night the concern in the Santa Cruz Mountains was the predicted lightning, and it did strike, but no fires resulted. Humidity increased and winds were stable; the firefighters were able to make progress today in containing that fire, while the fire did not get much bigger. So far I haven’t heard that anyone I know has lost property over there. I am sort of under siege from the smoke; we didn’t get any Good air for two days, but it looks like there is a slight chance of moving into that green AQI zone tonight…

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      1. Smoke can be such a problem. There are times when agricultural fires in Mexico send their smoke this direction, and it can be so, so bad until the winds shift. I’ll think green thoughts for you, and hope that you and all you love can get some relief.

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  4. I’m reading this now, a week later, and hoping you are still safe, and your home. I’ve thought of you often – so glad you are not in a dangerous area. I do remember that haunting song from Paris. Looking at that footage, I wonder now if the burning of that sacred place caused any Parisians to treasure the church more than they had before.

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