The fires have begun again in our tinderbox state of California. Last February, our usual rainy season, saw literally not one drop of rain, and now, six months later and a couple months earlier than usual, our state is on fire again. Forests and hillsides, mountain ranges and homes, valleys and parks, towns and cities, are being wiped out by the infernos.
My friends who live near the Sebastopol laguna, who had been my evacuation refuge, have themselves been evacuated to San Jose on the south peninsula. Areas to the east, the north, and the west of me are being evacuated because they are burning, but here at Friends House we seem to be in a sweet spot, only on notice so far.
The sky is an orangey ochre color during the day, and so smoky that we have trouble breathing outdoors, but we can look directly at the red sun setting in the evening. I have traded my cloth covid mask for the N95 smoke mask when I go outdoors now. We are asked to shelter in place both because of the covid-19 and because of the smoky air from the wildfires.
No wonder we are anxious, lonely, and depressed, as we try to distract ourselves and keep our spirits up, alone and stressed, in our personalized prisons.
Vilma Olsvary Ginzberg ~ 08.22.2020