The year is shifting. The last couple of months I’ve been focusing much of my time on woodworking projects and have been largely ignoring my writing. Heather and I have also been doing a little extra traveling. It’s great to get away, but does take time from other projects.
This weekend I had hoped to be finishing up a bookcase for my desk, but the smoke from the fire in Paradise has kept us mostly indoors. The bad air has really been affecting me more than I expected – sore throat, irritated eyes, headache. Forecasters are saying we’ll get relief around Tuesday, with some rain on Wednesday.
Rain would be welcomed to help clean the air and wet the forests here. It would end the fire in Paradise.
But it also brings problems for the survivors. Rain will turn the ash to mud and complicate or end the search for the dead and missing. Rain will delay the lifting of evacuation orders. Many survivors are still in shelters or in tents. None has been allowed back into the fire area and it could be weeks before FEMA can get them trailers or any kind of temporary housing.
Housings is a big problem here in California. In the Paradise area there was little vacant housings as the nearby construction project on the spillways at the Oroville Dam had brought in hundreds (a thousand at its peak) of workers who were renting every kind a housing or hotel room in the area. The is no extra housing for the victims after the loss of nearly 12,000 structures.
Many people have friends and family they can go to, but there are many, many who don’t and are camped in the Walmart parking lot in a tent given to them by a kind stranger. Paradise is forecast to get five inches of rain and the Walmart campers have been told they need to move on.
We’ve sent our donation for relief and say our prayers as the seasons shift. From the warm summer to the cold winter. We’re being driven indoors and what we do changes.
I’ve spent time in front of this computer writing. There are a lot of writing projects on my desk and this weekend I am focusing on writing about our river trip last summer. I’ve also worked a bit on a poem and a short story.
I look at the weather maps and wait for relief from the smoke and wonder what price the evacuees in Paradise will pay for my clear air.
How do you write about that?