After twelve days of fires and eight days of thick smoke in the city, the winds shifted, bringing rain and clear air to our area. It is good to see the sun again. We were able to return home Friday, when the air quality dropped to “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.” It was wonderful we were offered refuge for eight days. And it is good to be back in our own home. Not everyone has been so lucky. Many homes have burned, and much of the county remains in the evacuation zone.
After bringing our things into the house on Friday, I went off to the grocery store to replenish our stocks. Oddly, after hunkering down for more than a week waiting for the smoke to clear, I seemed to feel we’d received the All Clear. I wore a mask but found myself forgetting social distancing. I had to remind myself that only one crisis had passed, not all of them.
Our local library closed during the heavy smoke, so we haven’t been able to pick up the books we have on hold. I’ve been reading one I’ve read several times before: P.G. Wodehouse’s “The World of Jeeves.” The stories are silly in the way the British do so well (cf. “Monty Python” and “Have You Been Served”). I don’t seem to be able to read anything at all weighty during this time. Reality is already too weighty.
I miss our road trips, but more than that I miss the casual social interaction of being out in public. Our refuge had five adults and two children. It was a time of waiting for the smoke to clear and worrying about the fires, but it was also a time to be together. In that way, it was nice.
With the rain and the cooler weather, I am starting to switch out my seasonal clothes. I put my sandals away and got out the boots I wear in the rain. We might still get some hot weather, but it feels different — summer is over. I look at my summer clothes and realize I’ve spent the last few months wearing pretty much the same thing every day. My mother used to say if you haven’t used something for a year, you should get rid of it. Well, I didn’t use many of my summer clothes, but I’ll keep them. Maybe, just maybe, next summer will be different.