Tag Archive | smoke from distant fires

A House

Mountains invisible this morning, eight miles away. Midday it smelled not only smoky, but downright acrid, from fires in California.

I’m grateful today, especially, and every day, for a roof over my head, and four walls; windows and doors I can open or close at will; a kitchen, bathroom, sleeping loft, and some other sort of rooms: I am profoundly grateful to live in a house. Especially today, when many people have lost their houses to wildfires ravaging the American West, the Mediterranean, Europe, and other parts of the globe; and when many have lost their houses due to evictions, and other manmade catastrophes. I’m grateful that after our smoky walk this morning, we were able to retreat into the relative safety of our little mud hut, close up all the windows and doors, turn on the new swamp cooler (for which I’m also deeply grateful), remaining cool, comfortable, and safe, and breathe fairly clean air all day.

I’m grateful that it cooled down a lot today, and tonight well after dark the stars are out in a clear sky, smoke having settled or blown through. My throat is sore, my nose itches and runs, my eyes are scratchy; Stellar wheezed and panted all day but sleeps quietly at the moment. What about the hummingbirds? Their minuscule lungs! How do they manage in this smoke? And we’ve got it easy. Farther west, closer to the fires, in the fires… it boggles the mind and breaks the heart, the hardship and suffering of humans and all the wild creatures. I’m grateful for the temporary luxury of shutting it all out, closing my eyes, and sleeping between soft, clean sheets for one more night at a time.


I’m grateful all five phoebe babies made it through their first 24 hours. I spooked them several times this morning walking around the west side of the house; they scattered each time from a different roost on the ground, then perched on anything convenient like this string of prayer flags. A strange light filtered through a sudden smoke bank that rolled in from the southwest, eventually obscuring the mountains and carrying that chilling scent of wildfire. That surreal color suffused everything for a couple of hours. I’m grateful the fires aren’t closer.

Grateful for yet another new claret cup cactus in bloom. Such a great year for them!

I’m grateful for the first harvest of radishes. I wasn’t crazy about radishes, but they’re fulfilling to grow. And this variety is crisp and light, spicy but not too hot. I’m grateful for being open to changing my taste, my habits and attitudes toward food and everything else.