What a difference a week makes. Last week I was revelling in the grandeur of the great outdoors. This week I’m sequestered from it, seldom venturing out-of-doors because of the proximity of a fire.

The streets of our city are now relatively deserted. Two weeks before Christmas. The people who are venturing out are wearing specific kinds of face masks to help filter the fouled air. We’ve been repeatedly warned to stay inside.  Many stores and most schools are closed. Neighboring towns have had to evacuate.

Some people leave at the first sign of trouble, others hold out. There’s always a certain amount of uncertainty around these events and unless the firemen order an evacuation, it’s a judgement call.  From my personal experience,  the women are the first to say, let’s get-the-hell-out-of-here! The precariousness of a slight wind change can change the future of a life in just moments.

The world starts feeling increasingly and uncomfortably surreal as a fire progresses because nothing looks as you would expect it to. This what has become of our picture postcard town over the last several days. I haven’t shown the fallen ash that coats our trees, sidewalks and cars.

air quality

There’s a fine line between laughing and crying they say, and there’s a fine line between reactions to the spectacular nature of a major fire. Fascination quickly turns into Alarm. At first, I note a subtle difference as sunlight is filtered through the smoke. It’s like looking at the world through rose-coloured glasses. Everything becomes tinged with pink. It doesn’t register immediately as a danger sign to me.  One glance at the sun, as a cherry red disk in the sky, lets me know otherwise. That triggers a small bit of excitement within me. You understand very quickly at a primal level that you might be in for a battle. The fight/flight response is activated. Continue reading “Fire!!”