Off The Wall: Drifting Smoke

Mike – these wildfires look unspeakably terrible. This is your backyard, right? You and yours ok? Sara Bonatti

Hi Sara. We’re fine. Thanks for asking.

Like most of my neighbors, I woke up a few days ago convinced my house was on fire. Drifting smoke, thick and heavy, had floated 40 miles south on a cool breeze and wrapped itself around the Golden Gate.

At 3 am, it looked like the stuff that Sandburg made famous – the stuff that “comes on little cat feet, and sits on silent haunches, looking at the harbor and city before moving on…”

But this wasn’t fog. This was fogs evil twin, and it has yet to move on. It’s lingering, worming its way in, bringing with it an army of ash that settles on my coffee table and nightstand.

I wipe it away, but it keeps coming back. I close the windows and doors, but there it is again – a light dusting I can write my name in. I ponder its composition. Oak and Redwood, mostly. Other people’s homes. Other people’s lives.

The terrible flurries are still coming, and just over the ridge – under a blood-red sun that refuses to set – other people with bigger problems are wondering what the new day will bring.

I’m in LA today, but my thoughts are of fog.
And for my many friends up north.


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