One of the downsides to living in Southern California is the Santa Ana winds. In a good year, fall consists of 90 degree weather and hot, dry wind that dries up your eyes, your skin and your sense of humor. In a bad year, well, it’s pretty well known what happens, hundreds of homes burn, thousands of acres, and we all inhale smoke for days. We’ve lost over 800 homes in the last four days. I know of families who have lost everything they own this weekend. Yesterday afternoon the sky was orange in my part of LA, the smoke was so prevalent. After spending three hours on my church patio yesterday morning, I felt grimy and felt like a weight was sitting on my chest. Four weeks ago I woke up to a convoy of firetrucks racing up my street, a fire was burning over the ridge, thankfully it was contained and no houses were lost. This year is a bad year.
In the fall of 1993, I was pregnant with my son and Malibu burned. I was working
in Santa Monica, just down the road from the fires, and my mother called me to tell me to wear a scarf around my face if I went out to lunch to protect the baby. I envisioned walking into a business lunch with my face covered in YSL and decided it was better to eat at my desk. Well, my baby is 14 now and was taking golf lessons on Saturday in Yorba Linda, in the midst of the Triangle Fire. Yes, that’s the name of the fire that my son was very, very close to, the same name of the fire that killed so many children and young women in New York. While he hit ball after ball, stopping to watch the helicopter drop water on the fire starting on the 11th hole then swinging again, I was recollecting the book I talked about on Labor Day.
Kyle wasn’t alone. My husband was with him (hence the photographs) and he decided they were fine, the golf lesson could continue. He’s very cautious, I mean really cautious; I call him Mr. Health and Safety or RPP (the reasonably prudent person). However, I wonder about his choice of timing to be daring. Finally, at 3PM, when I’m watching flames on TV soar into the sky, I called to insist that now is the time to leave. I’m the daring one and I wouldn’t stay. They were on the road, inching along, with no gas in the tank. I could hear the sirens in the background. The freeways around them were closed so while they found gas, I charted a route to the closest open freeway. Good grief.
What’s next on my husband’s reading list? Triangle by Katherine Weber. Next time he decides to live on the edge, he can chose to ride a roller coaster with his hands in the air.