Saturday, November 15, 2008

The kind of day it has been... a single word: terrible.

Everyone has probably heard about the fires that are devastating Southern California. None are anywhere close to me, and yet smoke and ash from the local fires have filled the sky, making breathing difficult. That's what winds blowing from the north can do when you live essentially south of the burning areas.

Hundreds of homes have been destroyed; more will be. None of the three (or four) fires in this region are close to being controlled, and all are in heavily built-up areas.

There was also a small fire roughly four miles from here, in an area ripe to go up in smoke. That one was put down quickly and did no damage.

PARENTHETICAL DODGING-A-BULLET THOUGHT: Two homes ago, I lived in what now may be the path of one of today's fires. I didn't like the area, and worried about brush fires throughout the two years I lived there....

The smoke made a pretty picture out on the ocean, as if that's any consolation...

And what did I, who should have been over at the old place boxing up -- and throwing out -- my crap, do today?


Strangely enough, as reports of burned-out homes, apartment buildings and house trailers came in, I found myself imagining, wistfully, that my former building had been in the line of one of the fires. Yeah, there are things I would miss...briefly. Some toys that have much sentimental (and a fair amount of monetary) value; copies of much of my published work during that past 22-plus years; some irreplaceable phonograph records...and if they were consumed by flames, I might force myself to shed a tear. Maybe two.

A change has come over me in the time -- less than a week -- that I've occupied my new digs. I have divorced myself from almost seven years of living in a fairly spacious pad, and have adjusted to my tiny cubicle.

In fact I've adjusted too quickly, in the way my cat Hobbes adjusted almost instantly from having outdoor access and a big yard to play in to being confined indoors when I moved into the previous place. I simply don't feel like going back over to finish up the clean-up and removal process. It's a part of my life that is now over.

Am I what is sometimes called "an institutional man?" Would I rather be confined? Or am I simply adjusting to a new -- and not entirely awful -- reality in which everything vital to me is enclosed in a 300 square-foot space?

Maybe tomorrow I can get back to what I need to do. I'd better.

Tonight, I will simply vegetate, sitting in my small rectangle and occasionally going out to see which way the smoke is blowing.

People with major catastrophes to deal with are, I fervently hope, being helped tonight.

I, with only a small catastrophe affecting my world, will just have to muddle through. Alone, as usual.


Anonymous said...

California is indeed a beautiful place, but it seems if it's not shaking or burning it's sliding down the side of a mountain. Do you ever get used to all that "excitement"?

Your new abode might be smaller, but so are your expenses. Seems like a fair trade. :)


MrScribbler said...

S -- I've been through a number of big shakes and fires (never a slide, though) and, since I wasn't in the immediate disaster zones, never had a problem.

Of course the area where I live now will simply fall into the ocean when the Big One hits....

DAL said...

I mangaged to put out some of my prettier junk, but it's just inside the bedroom. I should have at least a carload of things to throw away or take to Goodwill before they close up here.

Ptolemy said...

When we last moved, it was as though those 5 1/2 years just never were. Done and over. New life begins, regardless of the size of your surroundings.

Joanna said...

I have followed your blog for quite some time and I am very encouraged by your move. It is my sincerest hope that you will find a place to belong with other people. I understand how it feels to be part of the human race, but not in the race, or at least not much. We discover our role in life through our relationships with others. Virtual relationships, while special and valued, keep us disconnected and cut off from the lifeblood of a local community. May your life get easier, and may you meet new people whom you enjoy so you are not alone or lonely.


Robyn said...

Thank you, Joanna. I, too, have followed Scribbs journal and the prevalent theme is one of loneliness. Not to talk behind your back, Scribbs, but with all of that California beauty, why is it so lonely for you?

Welcome to your new abode!


Anonymous said...

WB Scribbles!


Lee said...

Cough, Cough, Hack, Ack; the fires look terrible! Your new place looks quaint. As others have said - your 2nd new life begins this year. Go Scribbs!!! You're a survivor, that's for sure!

New JS x 6 months

Kelley said...

Nice photos, Scribbs! Your neighbor looks friendly - the one in the tree. Congrats on the move. It was a very long time coming!


Anonymous said...



Shandee Creig Sharpe said...

I checked JS tonight after being on vacation. Your new abode sounds amazing! You deserve the best, Scribbles. After reading you for months and months, I feel as though I know you. My name is Shandee.

Now, if the fires quit burning, you can finish moving!

Birdie said...

the fires have also hit our news way over here on the other side of the world. They showed a satelite video of the smoke and of course I thought of you, my folks, and HarpO. I hope things get under control real soon.

And, we may think all the "junk" is just that, but they are a part of who we are. And it really saddens me to think of all the pictures, documents, etc. that those poor folks have lost in those fires. We should treasure ours as long as we have them!


Anonymous said...

Scribbs, I want to assure you that you are not alone. You have friends here, even though many are somewhat disembodied. Nevertheless, there they are, and they, like me, worry about you. We share your worry about the folks getting burned out of, and losing their homes and their possessions. I have friends and relatives in SoCal, and so far, they are all right.

Dale in GA

ben said...

Hope things are going better for you my friend.

Japee said...

Just saw all the fires on the news. Those poor people. Stay safe out there.

John0 said...

Not much of note further south. Most of my prized possessions would fit in my car, and everything would fit in a good sized van, so that is a strange kind of luxury.
I wonder if lawsuits on behalf of chaparral have inhibited the ability of those people to protect themselves and their property from these fires. There's some of that here in the Chocolate mountain area.