An Uncomfortable Reminder

I woke up today to clear skies.

For a California who’s lived most of his life in the Golden State, waking up to a blue sky is a common occurrence. It’s an easy thing to take for granted – good weather year-round seems such a distinctly Californian experience that it’s only when the sky is falling that we ever really look up at it.

These past years – years I’ve spent as a So Cal local, rather than the gloomy Central Cal native I grew up as – I’ve felt a shift in the air itself. I can recall memories of driving by our state reservoirs as a child, nervous because the water seemed to brush up right up against the roads themselves. Now, we’d be lucky to see so much as a puddle slowly evaporating at the bottom of an empty gash in the ground.

When I woke up today, the wildfires were the last thing on my mind. I knew of their existence, of course (which self-respecting Californian does not?) but bad weather – truly bad weather – seems so anti-Californian that I was comfortable to go about my day, blissfully ignorant of the reality that our state faces – that our country faces.

And now, as I write this – as the looming pink cloud of smoke and ash rises slowly over the roofs in my apartment complex – I cannot help but face the realization that our world is one stray ember away from a fire we cannot put out.