Friday, August 28, 2009

Smoke gets in your eyes...

Cough, cough! Blechhkk!

It's a bit of a mess here. Four fires are burning in the Southern Cali hills kind of in a giant circle around the city. The air is thick with smoke. Our cars are covered with a thin coating of white ash.

There is this weird yellow sunshine burning through the smoke. It's hard to really tell from this poor shot through my scraggly tomatoes, but maybe you can see the psychedelic rays burning down through this thick cloud layer of smoke. No? Trust me, if you were here, I'd show you.

The light is distinctive when there's a fire. I imagine it's as distinctive as the green color of the sky when a tornado is about to touch down. And despite being about ten miles away (and posing no fire danger to us) it's scary to see that brown blanket of smoke creep over the valley and steal away the clear August blue. And the ability to breathe.

It's also like 104*. Hot.

L.A. routinely burns, accidentally through freak lightning, or spontaneous combustion (caused by all the angst in LA no doubt) or intentionally at the hand of some looney arsonist who thinks watching fire eat through other people's lives is fun. Our fire season used to be in the fall, when the green hillsides naturally turned brown. But we've been in a drought for a while now and the hillsides are crispy and brown most of the year and just waiting for a spark. Soon, tumbleweeds will start blowing around our streets and scary Western soundtracks recorded in Italy will start playing over the loudspeakers. But only if Clint Eastwood walks by.

What? It could happen.

We're rationing our outdoor watering now--down to two days a week. My flowers are very unhappy with me. My poor little coreopsis is struggling to stay green. A lonely little shoot amidst the crackly brown. They don't all look this bad, but I'm sad to say many do.

We're certainly not alone in this water rationing thing. I know a lot of cities around the country are doing it, too. Cities whose resevoirs are drying up, while others are buried under enormous levels of rain. What's going on?

Are we in for another dust bowl like in the 1930's? Is it global warming? Or is it just a natural swing of nature? What do you think is going on with our weird weather? Is it weird where you are?


Snap said...

Weird is right. We are in a drought also. Very little rain, although it did rain at my house today for about 10 minutes. We sat on the balcony and watched. The plants were happy. You could almost hear them sigh. And, did I mention it is too darn hot? (Even for us?)

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

Weird for sure but not in the terms you are having. We have had one of the coldest summers I can ever remember here. I think maybe a handful of days have reached the 90s. Nights are in the mid 40s...which is not summer at all. It has been very, very wet...I know you didn't want to hear that either. Now for the farmers, their crop is one month behind and many could not even plant much less be able to harvest if the weather stays this way. Expect higher prices for this coming down the pike. I wish I had an answer to what this weird weather pattern is!

Holly said...

Same for Western PA... no real summer to speak of. Wet and overcast. Very cool for the summer season.

And, I don't think it's global warming. I don't believe it is when there is so much scientific evidence to the contrary of the hysteria.

But, I do believe Mother Earth works in cycles and so I believe that we're going to have to live with her unpredictability as she does her natural thing.

Sorry it's so hot and tenuous, Barb. I'll be keeping you safe in my thoughts.

Sarah said...

LOL Barb LA angst!!! Yes odd weather here..but we have had increasingly cool summers the last couple of years here in N Idaho. Last year and this were so cold early summer my tomatoes just never did much. I have surprise pumpkins that are loving it though. Pretty wet and very chilly. Great post hon..sorry about the fires..makes me sneeze!
Love, Sarah

Kathryn Magendie said...

The earth will always change and is always changing, no matter what we do or don't do- as other critters and other thing affect our earth - even the moon is slowly moving away, and the sun will one day burn out and when it does, it'll burn us to a crisp...however, the things we do affect our atmosphere, etc, as well....

We were in a bad drought, now we're getting lots of rain!

WrightStuff said...

Scary to look at all that smoke. Here in the UK, we are amazed to get a day when it doesn't rain. Cold wind yesterday. We love talking about the weather though - a national pastime! I'm sending you some rain. Use it wisely!

Barbara said...

Thanks all for the comments. We could use some of that rain! Since I posted, the fires are so much worse. Walking out my front door today was like standing in front of a campfire! Bad. Now there are 8huge fires burning and no end in sight. Thank God, so far, few homes lost. Thank all for your good thoughts.

Izzy 'N Emmy said...

Wow, such a scary thing, even at 10 miles away. I hope they can get the fires under control soon.