Friday, October 26, 2007

fire season

it's been ominous living in southern california over the past week. last weekend it was the wind, shaking the windows and howling afternoons and evenings. it spooked me. things started to get progressively worse, however, when the winds, coupled with the dry weather, started to spread fires.

at first, i didn't think much of the wildfires. it is "fire season," after all. but then they were spreading, and soon it seemed that all of southern california was burning.

the skies were dull shades of brown and grey, and the sun filtered through the clouds, casting an eerie red light. joseph and i found ourselves having difficulty breathing after being outside for short periods of time, with coughing, and sore throats (it's worse for him because he has asthma). we joked that it was like nuclear winter. ha.

but we've been lucky. i've watched the media coverage of the fires in san diego county, shocked at the evacuations and the destruction. today i read about a couple who survived a fire that consumed their house by jumping into their swimming pool. and then immigrants who died in the fires while trying to cross through canyons along the border. i've been thinking about the fact that though the fires strike indiscriminately, it'll be easier for the wealthy families in southern california to rebuild and resume life as normal. but what is normal for an immigrant trying to cross the border?

i'm relieved that the fires are being contained and that the smoke is beginning to clear. i'll be grateful when i can finally take a breath of fresh air, which, in southern california, is not normal at all.