It was tinder-box dry around here (still is, no rain has fallen yet…) Too many weeks without rain to count. The farmers are giving their cattle hay, in July. Gardens have dried up and everything seems brittle and over-baked. A few particularly hardy flowers are still around, and we saw them on our walk. As the hair on our necks curled up with the wall of heat from the sun.
That night there was a terrible fire nearby, a fire that claimed two hundred year old homes, one that appears to have been started by a thrown & lit cigarette but on the front yard. That spread through dry, brittle grass to the old front porch and into the house where a mother and her daughter lived. They evacuated in time. I looked out of our window, hearing the fire truck wail and seeing the burning black debris falling through the air in the street in front of our home, all at the same time. Registering what was happening, the open pores of fear at the pit of my stomach pumping. Airborne lead from old lead paint. Arsine gas from burning pressure-treated wood. A toxic brew.
So we waited and hoped, that the windows would seal in clean air, that the fire would stop as soon as possible and not spread (it did, some) and that it would all be over.
Now, as we wait for rain to wash the air and streets, and cleanse the place, so many have turned their thoughts to helping the families rebuild. I look out to our garden and think of how it doesn’t matter at all if we can’t eat our garden herbs and veggies this year, until we bring in new soil and clean up. We have our home. Intact. And our family is safe. And that, is all that matters in the end.