The Blob

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Red Sun, Amber Sky

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down. I awoke this morning to something I may only see once in my life: a sky colored by massive wildfires that are raging throughout Southern California. It's wonderfully eerie. A cloudy sky colored amber by the smoke of thousands of acres ablaze. A snowstorm of ash falling from the sky. And a sun colored red by the inferno. To know what the sky looks like, look at the top of this page. Yes, it's really that color.

Pity Superman. He's lost all his powers today.

The air is somewhat smokey and acrid, and the sky tinted a shade I may see only once in my life (I hope). Noon looked like dusk. And the animals near my home reacted in wonderment to it all. Would a nuclear winter look like this?

Strange yet wonderful. Nature can certainly put on a show.

About 10 years ago, I was treated to a ringside seat for another, even larger fire. The Santa Ana winds were blowing as I drove to work, making me worry what would happen that day. I didn't have to wait very long. Mid-morning, I looked out of the window of my office in Woodland Hills, California (where I lived at the time) and saw a small plume of smoke only two miles away in the Santa Monica mountains. Dry as it was, and with the winds blowing as they were, I didn't have to wait long. I had to work late that night, and by nightfall, the plume had exploded to a vast firestorm that covered the entire southern horizon. Looking out the window, as far as I could see from left to right, and stretching impossibly high into the night sky glowed a vast curtain of fire, so large that the enormous C-130 firefighting planes and helicopters were mere dots against the inferno. It was at once ghastly and strangely beautiful.

Residents of the beachside community of Malibu told me that on the first night of the fire, not only did thousands of people flee for their lives (as are the 12,000 residents in Rancho Cuchamonga right now), but fleeing to the beach ahead of the fire were countless deer, coyotes, rabbits, birds, horses, even mountain lions.

I can only hope that the arsonists who caused this burn in fires of eternity.