We’ve had the news on pretty much 24/7 this week as the fires continue to sweep through Southern California. My parent’s house spared but it feels weird to be relieved. For every relieved family there are plenty of ones in mourning. Homeless, even though home is so much more than a house. Doesn’t make it any easier for those who return to smoldering ashes. Families. People I know. It’s especially hard to be away from home. Even though Los Angeles is technically where we live. Eight years since I’ve lived in Encinitas with my parents. And even though Los Angeles has been burning as well, we’ve been separate from the horror… seeing only smoke from afar. North of us. West of us. East of us. South of us.
It would feel weird for me to blog about anything else this week. So I haven’t. The world has sort of stopped these last few days and even though the majority of the fires are extinguished, I’ve long been refreshing my browser. Waiting for news of quiet. Peace. Watching the news. Getting annoyed when the same news gets repeated. Nothing new.
I’ve been on edge all week. Watching footage of my hometown on fire.
Calling my parents around the clock. My siblings. Old friends. Waiting
for the fires to end. I go in and out, leaving Archer, sometimes alone in the living room, with the news on mute. Doing dishes. Making phone calls. Checking friend’s blogs to make sure everyone’s okay.
Today, I called for Archer, forgetting the TV was still on in the other room. On mute. He was staring at the screen. At the fire. And he was blowing on it. Blowing with all his might, like he does when I light candles. Except somehow he understood that this was so much bigger than a candle. So much bigger than a million candles.
“Archer? What are you doing, bug?”
Archer looked over at me wide-eyed and then went back to the TV… Flames spread through the hillside and the smoke billowed out of frame. He continued blowing. Huffing and puffing until the news segment ended. He then, looked back at me, thrilled. Like he had done something tremendous. He clapped and he clapped. “Yay!” he said.
“Yay!” I said. “You made the fire go away!”
Seconds later the fire footage returned. “Uh, oh!” Archer said, and started blowing once again. Madly. Huffing and puffing with all his might.
Until finally I turned the television off. Once again the fire was gone. Extinguished.
“Yay!” Archer squealed, the look of accomplishment returning to his face. He started clapping again and I thanked him. For blowing out the fire. For causing me to turn off the TV and stop obsessing.
“Way to go, dude.”
The TV stayed off after that. After Archer blew out the fire. I stopped refreshing the Internet. Calling my
mom around the clock.
Everything was going to be okay, I decided. And it is. It will be okay. Our fire fighters big and small will make sure of it.