Monday, August 24, 2020

Smoke and Ashes

From the frying pan of sizzling kid-energy to the smoke and ashes of the California fires—one way to describe our homecoming to San Francisco. It has been six weeks since I slept in my own bed and cooked in my own kitchen and played my piano. But two minutes inside the house and it feels like I never left.

And what have I come home to? A world of smoke and ashes, the now annual burning of California. A Fall ahead with little scheduled—I will have to create my series of online courses to keep the teaching muscles toned and feel like I can contribute. A large pile of mail, much expendable, some practical, one heartwarming note. (And yes, I’m still a 100% supporter of the Post Office!) Books that I took from my music room in school that I have to find a place for in my overcrowded, smallish house. (Hopefully without my wife noticing!) Some welcome space and solitude after the six weeks with my lovable but (and) high-energy 5 and 8 year old grandchildren. The work ahead to get all the undecided voters ordering the chicken (see Airplane Meal post) and convincing the wrongly decided ones (no ifs, and or buts about that) to miss the meal for their own health and safety (even if they don’t understand why the right choice benefits them). 

All of this amidst the burning world. No one chooses a devastating forest fire, but there is a truth that certain seeds won’t open without such a burn. Fire removes low-growing underbrush, cleans the forest floor of debris, opens it up to sunlight, and nourishes the soil. Reducing this competition for nutrients allows established trees to grow stronger and healthier.There’s a metaphor in their somewhere.


But meanwhile, the pain and suffering of beautiful forests devastated, homes and lives threatened, smoke and ashes for hundreds of miles, giving our masks double-duty. That’s the world we’re in, the one I returned to after sheltering on a pristine lake.


So be it. On we go.

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