Friday, May 8, 2009
Earth, Wind and Fire
I hear the hum of aircraft headed to the Santa Ynez Airport, helicopters and air tankers setting down to refuel. The dominating plume of smoke on the mountains warns of a dangerous summer.
Our homes are not threatened here in this little valley, but the highway we take on our frequent trips to Santa Barbara is closed, fire raging on either side of the roadway.
This is the second fire Santa Barbara has endured in the last six months. Our beautiful Riviera is charred. Ash rains down on the beach and most residential areas have been evacuated. So many friends are affected by this. They’ve had to decide what to pack, realizing that what they leave behind, they may never see again.
And the firefighters, many of whom are fathers to the friends of my children, putting their lives on the line to protect the places we hold dear. The children know their fathers are heroes. They try not to focus on the very real danger, or the fact that 10 from their ranks have already been hospitalized.
Every day the fire has doubled in size. The wind has made it harder to fight. I can’t remember a day without wind. It has blown without stopping for several weeks, maybe longer. It blows harder in our valley than it does in Santa Barbara. It makes me wonder...
Our hillsides are brown and humidity is low. I notice people mowing the roadsides. Everyone is trying to create a defensible space around where they live.
I hope it’s enough.