Last night: zero smoke and smell.
This morning: eerie red sun; thick, choking smoke, ash flying through the air like snow.
The wind has clearly changed. On the plus side, it's a cooler ocean breeze instead of a hot blast out of the canyons. On the minus side, I feel like an extra in The Last Days of Pompeii.
There's still no danger to us beyond headaches and coughing from the bad air, but it's very unpleasant. It could be so much worse, though. I'm concerned for my mother's friends and their grandchildren, who had to leave their house in Arrowhead and are staying with her for the duration, and also for a former co-worker who lives in the mountains and was prepared to evacuate the last time I heard.
While I was watching some of the news coverage yesterday, I realized that humans are misled. We fool ourselves and each other into thinking that we rule the planet -- that we're important and meaningful -- and to each other, we are. But to nature, we aren't one whit more significant than the cougars or the raccoons or the eagles or the ants. Nature doesn't discriminate. The ancient redwood forest and the shrubs in your front yard are both fodder for the fire. The giant wave sweeps away people and animals together. The same sky arches over great disasters and tiny triumphs.
We are so small.