Friday, February 10, 2006


Signs in the sky and over the waters! From my bayside lookout post there is a dark patch in an otherwise clear sky. There is a similar patch in the bay below. The water there is a warm gray, a dull mixture of blue and darker ochre, on either side it is the usual cerulean blue—sky-color to most painters. Here at the beach the map shows us further out from the rest of California shores than most surrounding terrain; there is sparse vegetation here. Little of this is indigenous to the area; nearly all of it, palm trees included, was carted in from somewhere else, and fire hazards in our local brush is not usually a problem. But today looks different.

A chunk of my distant panorama of the Sierras and local Anaheim Hills is obscured by smoke—and where there is smoke there is also the scourge of fire. “I read the news today, oh boy!” People up there in the hills are fleeing their homes at the very last minute (though it has been said that if there were no last minutes very little would get done in this world), taking the few most precious articles one can think of, almost always door-keys and hairbrushes. I don’t know if the lintels or sills of those doors were marked by more than the fire-inspector’s notes, probably not blood from a freshly slaughtered lamb. But the local exodus has begun and smoke marks a path across the waters—from this side we can only pray that all the children of God shall emerge safely, all the children, and that the evil flames of their pursuers be drowned.

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