“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

9.07.2011

what you can't see in this picture: for connie jean, who packed suitcases and waited


there was smoke in the distance behind me, a thin purple haze you might mistake for clouds if you hadn't heard the news alerts.  another fire in this weekend of fire and wind, more evacuations, this one costing 4 homes, just a small one in the big scheme of national news, but so oh-not-small to the people who'd built those homes, so oh-not-small at all to the man unable to save even photos, his son on tv saying all gone, all gone

they started thursday night, i think, maybe friday, i've lost count of the days and all my handwritten notes are at home and i am at work; the first day is unimportant now anyway.  the tv said a fire here, a small one there, and i'd listened and paid not much attention - it's been a summer of heat and wind and grassfires and defensively watering trees and lawns in the face of no rain - but this wind was the edge of a hurricane and it came in and didn't stop.  that delicious cool wind i stood in saturday night proved unrelenting.  it blew dust and dirt past my open front door, huffed and puffed limbs from the trees, and by sunday afternoon the list of fires was a constant scrawl across the bottom of local tv stations.  2 dead.  houses gone.  by monday the area near austin had lost hundreds of homes.

but not here.  we were surrounded by fires sprawled in all directions, but here it was only windy and dry and the skies were that perfect september blue, the temperatures in the wonderful high 80s.  it felt not quite real if you ignored the smoke. 

by tuesday morning we could no longer do that.  i awoke to the smell of something burning and walked outside to find the streets swimming in smoke from those not-quite-so-distant-as-i'd-thought fires, held low to the ground by the cool night air, spreading out instead of up, and the news kept saying listing fires, more evacuation centers, showed people escaping with pets and pictures.  the image of a horse in the bed of a pickup truck stays with me.  safe

we are still surrounded, but the fires are on the county edges, in the countrysides, far enough away to not give worry.  the winds have died down, but the humidity is low and pine trees are perfect fuel for flames.  this long hot dry dry summer continues.

~~~~~~~~~~

but listen.
katie stood in a sprinkle of rain sunday. 
it will come.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

8 comments:

  1. I've been watching in horror the news footage of the fires in Texas. What with hurricanes, tropical storms and fires the weather is doing some pretty crazy things right now. Stay safe, thinking of you. x

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  2. i can't even imagine any of it.....
    i'm thinking of you and all those who are suffering with this catastrophic event threatening all that they love....ox

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  3. Each day it just seems to get crazier. Stay safe, thinking of you, sending good weather juju your way. Wishing I knew some magic.

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  4. i have thought of you but not knowing Texas land, did not know where you are. what devastation. i am pleased you are safe.
    in fond regard, Tilda

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  5. What a terrible situation. Stay careful and safe...

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  6. I am so glad you find yourself in a protective cocoon...even if it is filled with smoke. The rains can't be that far off now. Make sure you get out there with your rain boots when it finally falls down. Will feel so good!

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  7. I pray the rain comes and comes the embers and cleans the air.

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  8. That's what I get for not keeping up with your blogs, Debi...I had no idea you'd written this...and for me! How very sweet of you. You have captured in words the feeling exactly without making it maudlin or grossly exaggerated. I kept the bags packed for several days though Mama unpacked hers, I couldn't talk her out of it. All the boys but one stayed in their cases and some of the stuff stayed in the back of the Suburban (my daughters antique high chair...all the pictures, etc.) until I could get no more in it. I am grateful that none of it was necessary...I am a very grateful person. Thanks so much for thinking of me. I had no idea that it had come so close to you...though I prayed for everyone. Blessings,
    Connie Jean

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