The sky remains grey, the world ugly, and the air hard to breathe. Smoke has blown more than a thousand miles off the coast. Surfers don’t care. When you can’t go to work or school, what else is there to do. They headed to the beach, boards of all sizes under their arms, and the water became wall to wall surfers.
Six on this small wave at the beginning of a set. As the wave height grew, some of the young kids hung ten on the ends of their boards bringing a smile to my face.
I’d taken just a few moments after working at the library to check out the surf myself. Lots of kids…….perhaps it was a surfing school grabbing this moment in the sun. Folks my age paddled out too….with less than perfect figures, balding heads, and large new long boards under their arms they were having a ball.
The fires are only 20% contained here or 30% there, but everyone is acting as if the worst is over. New evacuations are under way in the back country. Folks are being told to take shelter out in Borrego. Some are being allowed back in to their homes….then delayed as a presidential visit holds them up or a decision on water quality. Lots of anger about that one. A few stayed in their homes ignoring mandatory evacuation orders….among them our last Fire Chief who said he would be mad at himself if he were still Chief. Three died because of their decisions.
As the air begins tentatively blowing off the ocean, I can move around again without the feeling that the weight of the world is sitting on my chest. Electrical transmission line worries are lessening too, and I leave the TV on as I work here at my computer. Frankly, I cannot bear to look at the crying homeowners. My heart breaks for them as I remember well the terrible feelings when you first see your burned home. My Victorian burned in a Santa Ana much like this one in 1974.
When G arrived home, we had a few glorious minutes to ourselves then picked up Pete at the Padre’s Store where he was doing inventory. It was glorious to see him looking so well again after last years struggle with lymphoma. Today he was tired and still with Chemo brain. Last year he was wiped out and almost immovable. How wonderful it was to have an hour with our friend in the middle of this crisis.
The television stations and newspaper reports the positive, but I sit here at the beach thinking that 20% contained is only 20%. There’s still 80% burning unchecked somewhere. Politics rule when the powers-that-be begin closing Qualcom Stadium as a shelter. SDSU canceled their game, and the city doesn’t want the Chargers to move elsewhere and lose that income too. They say that many residents aren’t evacuees at Qualcom as an excuse. None of us believe this. They are moving the remaining 800 some evacuees to the Del Mar Fairgrounds to shelter among the horses under a roof instead of in a drafty corridor. More excuses.
I was lucky enough to be living and working in another Victorian the day my house burned. Many who have lost their homes in the last week have nowhere to go. Hotels, marinas, and parks are now full of evacuees, and tourists are staying away in droves. But the city isn’t a sad place. Although we are living in the middle of the largest evacuation in the United States and politics has reared it’s ugly head, the shops are full, anything air conditioned is jammed as if it were Christmas, and the city as a whole is in a survival mind-set as we give to those who need it more than we do.
Me: Confusion for a while, but now a fellow worker from Qualcom and I are getting together at the noon meeting for a cake and token sort of moment. Yesterday: Library, a while at the beach before lunch where I talked too much. Photoshopped Granddaughter MA pictures. Dinner with Pete. Didn’t visit Duck. We called.
G: Work…..in layers. Air handling is working with many new filters. He bought costumes for four, and after a fast dinner we are going to Ducks and deck out the neighborhood for Halloween. I’ll bring the camera.
Duck: He thought he did something wrong which is why we didn’t visit this day. We reminded him that he said we didn’t have to visit every day. We now are going to take a day off here or there just so he can get used to this. But if we don’t show up with some regularity, we know he doesn’t get all his meds and care.
SD County Emergency Index Map
NBC San Diego
San Diego Union/Tribune
Fire Map from SDSU
2007 Forest Service Map
Channel 10/ABC News
Fox 6 News
CBS/8: Great maps
LA Times Fire Maps