Monday, October 22, 2007

Los Angeles is Burning

When the hills of Los Angeles are burning
Palm trees are candles in the MURDER wind
So many lives are on the breeze
Even the stars are ill at ease
And Los Angeles is Burning

A placard reads "the end of days"
Jacaranda boughs are bending in the haze
More a question than a curse
How could hell be any worse
The flames are stunning
The cameras running
So take warning!

----- Bad Religion

Evidently the Southland is aflame. You want to know why Californians aren't more religious? Because we see the signs of the apocalypse all the time. Earthquakes, wildfires, mudslides, drought ---- I'm sure we saw a hail of locusts recently but I don't remember when. Catastrophic disaster is a California way of life. Of course, it also means we are stupid and don't learn from our past mistakes. We think we can build houses for millions of dollars on steep slopes, in woody canyons filled with dry chaparral, or beachside in the age of global warming, and then refuse to take any of the precautions that scientists and the government suggest (which includes the advice not to build there at all). I'd wish ill on people but if Hurricane Katrina taught me anything, it's that in a disaster, the poor people will suffer while those who wanted all the rules changed get away with things.

Anyway, there's a fire going near here --- again. I thought I blogged about the massive wildfire we had here a few months ago that turned the sky dark and made cool yet freaky mushroom clouds of smoke, but I can't find the post, so I won't bother to link to it. Just take my word for it that we had a big fat fire in the summer, and now we have another. I wish I had taken a picture of the sky yesterday, because it was chocolate. Not LA smog, not Mexico City smog. This was chocolate. Turns out that we had some huge Santa Ana winds pick up and grab all the soot and silt from the burned-out acreage and dump it on us, and in the course of all that windiness it started another fire, so now we have fresh ash and old ash drifting down on us and creating a mess everywhere. It smells like peat moss, only much drier. And smokier, of course.

I hadn't realized that they issued a "no exercise" warning (sweet! they should do that every day!) today or that it would count for swimming as well, but I went swimming today (first time back in about a month of craziness) and felt awful. I had to quit way early. That'll teach me to get off the couch! So I've been a bit lightheaded and yucky for the rest of the day. But not unproductive! I'm going to give that a whole separate post.

(This pic is from the old fire, not the current fire. Gotta keep all our disasters straight!)


Fretful Porpentine said...

Hey, my li'l brother is a firefighter! He's probably out there right now. :: tries not to think about this ::

Belle said...

Gawd. I grew up loving the Santa Anas, as they blew all the smog out of my home valley, made the days clear as crystal. On those days, we could stand on the roof and see Catalina from 45 miles inland.

Now I fear them, and I don't even live there anymore. The fear and wonder of those fires remain.

Sisyphus said...

Good luck to fretful porpentine's 'lil bro! We wish only the best for all the firefighters.

undine said...

Glad to hear that you are all right. The pictures from Southern California are scary.