Sunday, October 28, 2007

Politics On Hold

Can you see my house in the photo? We weren't too close to this batch of fires. The one in Malibu was just over the ridge four or five miles to the northwest of us and the one at Stevenson Ranch was over the ridge a dozen miles to the northeast of us. The main thing we got, being in the foothills, was the wind. For four days it rushed and eddied and reshaped our plants. All the seed pods were blown off our silk tree and scattered everywhere. The wind knocked a few random branches off the big pine in the backyard and it kind of pruned all the dead wood off the larger ash trees on the hillside. The olive tree is indestructible but the apple tree lost a branch or two. The rush of air knocked over our two garden gnomes. George Bush with his fingers crossed behind his back (Susan's idea, of course) was found lying face-down in the ferns. The statue of Chac, the Mayan rain god managed to keep his feet even though his performance has been pretty miserable the last couple of years (Susan calls him 'Chuck' but I was considering calling him 'Walter' in honor of Walter Mondale's unsuccessful career as a rainmaker for a famous law firm after he left the Vice Presidency).
The wind kept the ash from the fires from settling everywhere outside like it did in the 2003 fires (when we could actually see the giant tongues of flame in Santa Susanna Pass if we walked up to the top of the hill) but dust and ash crept into the house and covered everything. As the wind died down the smoke settled, making the sunsets and sunrises and moonsets and moonrises spectacular and casting a gloomy pall during the day. Of course the local TV guys got into the usual hysteria but I have less and less to do with TV these days so I experienced this fire more as observable phenomena without the kind of insight you get from the local news. You could see the news helicopters swarming towards Topanga on the first couple of days. There weren't any of the big water-droppers overhead, their blades make a super-loud WOCKWOCKWOCK noise as they fly over. I guess they weren't flying out of the valley. Oh well.
The whole dust, dryness, smokiness and the undertone of low, intense whooshing noise gives a strange Pompeii-like atmosphere to everything; there's a tinge of orange in the pallid light, even at noon. The cats were unusually active and jumpy. Maisie treed a baby tree rat in a rose bush but it managed to escape when she lost interest. So, I just wanted to be less political for once. I get too carried away, which is why I started this blog. Nobody really ever pays attention to it and I can get it out of my system without feeling so repressed by the left-wing world I live in. If I can just scream at the top of my lungs where no one can hear me, whats the harm?Its an interesting exercise in writing. Well, the wind has died and changed direction. It actually rained a tiny bit yesterday as I was driving down to Irvine to get my daughter's car's smog certificate. So things are settling back to normal. I have a ton of leaves to pick up and today I'm going to cut down the baby trees trying to grow on the hillside. Bye!

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