Unsteadily, I creep down the hall, comforted by my son’s deep breathing through his closed door. Our dog follows behind and stares up at me quizzically as I climb up the staircase back to bed.
We are safe, we are well, I whisper to myself and quietly close the window to block the scent of wildfires as we fall back to sleep.
40+ miles away, the wind whips the embers, sending destruction in a new direction. Families huddle in shelters, in campsites, cars and even swimming pools to escape the flames.
Yesterday I taught my students the word ‘eerie’ – anyone looking at the devastation in Napa and Sonoma counties knows that word, as flame and smoke and wind disintegrate lifetimes of memories into ash.
Settling into my lavender scented sheets, I doze with guilt-filled dreams. I am safe, but so many spend the night on cots and floors and unfamiliar beds, wondering what they will go home to.
The Universe is seething, some say. It’s hard not to agree.
My students are scared; I try to assure them that the fire needs to travel over miles of hills before it could come close enough to hurt us, but I don’t think they believe me.
If it could happen to them, they think…
The winds knock branches and bookshelves outside my window, shattering clay pots and slumbers.
They’re asking for clean underwear, clothes, and water, searching for missing loved ones, fearing the worst.
They had five minutes to leave in the dead of night. They lost everything to wildfire.
The relief planes fly low, rattling our windows these days; bulging with water, nothing seems to defy the wind. I track their trail through the smoky sky, helpless.
Wind and wildfires.
Our skies fill with the smoke of their lost dreams, our hearts overflow with concern.
To help those devastated by the northern California wildfires, click here: https://www.gofundme.com/raise-funds/CAfirerelief and here: http://www.redcross.org/local/california/gold-country/wildfires-response-october-2017.