Last night it was so warm outside so late at night that the words "earthquake weather" flashed through my mind. Now, I realize there's no such thing, but that's what we used to call it when the air grew suddenly hot and dry. It was windy, but eerily quiet. But you can live through earthquake weather without having to stock up on water and board up the windows, because there's no such thing.
Today, just when I was enjoying the hot, sunny weather and reminding myself why I live here in Northern California instead of a place where they have, say, hurricanes— just when I was thinking what a perfect day this was to start a three-day weekend, the sky grew dark.
It wasn't the darkness of storm clouds, though. It was the burnished maroon of a glass of red wine. The light was diffused through the filter of thousands of tiny particles of ash. And the scent on the afternoon breeze was unmistakable. Something was burning, something big, somewhere close.
Flecks of ash decorate the paving stones. I'm more relieved than ever that I had the grasses in my yard cut back not long ago, although the fire is at the north end of the county, at least for now. I'm sorry for the thousands of acres that have burned, but I'm not sorry my little plot of land isn't among them. It's a little like the way I feel about hurricanes. I have a stake in them, because people I care about are in the line of fire, but I'm still glad they don't come roaring through my back yard.