Last night before we went to sleep the wind was calm, but we could see red glowing all along the horizon. (The genius husband informs me that I am an idiot to think that Santa Ana comes from the ocean when it's a desert wind. But it still smells like ocean to me, how weird is that?) We woke this morning to a smoky haze and ash raining down on us.
A neighbor who works at the nearby fire station called to inform us that we were about 1-2 hours away from an evacuation notice. Beema started loading the cars, the men pulled out chainsaws and started cutting back everything growing near the house, and I made chocolate icing.
The freeway heading north was closed yesterday. We joked that the Boy's great grandparent's would have a great excuse to miss his party, what with a brush fire between us and all. But this morning the freeway was open once more, the fire had burned out during the night. The air grew thicker and thicker as the guys cut back more trees and shrubs. Such pretty vines too, but it's better them than the house. So past the fire and over the bridge, to grandmother's house we go...
We took the party to them. Scorched earth lined the freeway as our caravan headed north. In some places we could see the fires still burning, others were eerily untouched, side by side with blackened trees. It's this kind of thing that makes my father in law cut away trees and stand outside with the hose. On the news you can see houses that are flattened, with green shrubs beside them, He watches for a little while, and then goes outside to water some more, and fire up the chainsaw.
The men stayed behind to keep working. They say they can see the fire coming up along the creek when they stand on the carport. There is a police man on a motorbike monitoring traffic from the bridge, but they aren't under mandatory evacuation yet. They've done all they can until the fire draws nearer, and then there's more they can do before they have to leave. They also say they have some good scotch and cigars to occupy the time. (MEN)
The boy had his party and it was sweet. I hope to show pictures soon.
I don't know what, if anything, has happened to our house. All of our city was under mandatory evacuation by late last evening. The only things I regret leaving behind are the quilts that Beema made for the Boy and Girl when they were born. Each square has a blessing or prayer written by friends and family at their baby showers, and I will miss them if they are gone. I think they will too.
As I sit here, in a comfortable house once more, installed in one of the ample spare rooms, I can't help thinking about all of those people who didn't have family to go to outside the danger zone, and are holed up in school gyms and stadiums and sleeping in crowds and eating in crowds and who knows when they'll get a shower. The GH's cousin has been at an evacuation center since yesterday morning with her baby girl.
I am feeling pretty blessed right now, and grateful to be were we are, looking out an upstairs window and watching the smoke from a distance while my children swim in GG's pool, instead of trying to entertain them in a cramped gym that is full to capacity with strangers.
Thanks for your prayers and thoughts. Please keep the people who have lost their homes and are staying at evacuation centers in your prayers as well, and pray for rain, and wind from the sea.