a state on fire

We walked through the burn scar, happy to see new life peeking through the soil, green in a landscape of ash grey, while breathing the smoke from a new fire raging to the south.  Seeing the remnants of a dead fire while breathing the proof of a live one.  It was eerie and sad.  I took video while we walked, to capture the moment as best as I could.  Though, that only really gets the image of it.  Not the smell.  Not the desolation.  Not the death in the air.

Still, there was life at our feet.  Tiny flowers and little green shoots sprouted along the trail.  And in the haze we could see other such life pushing through the ash.  It was encouraging to see that.  Despite the destruction, all was not lost.  Despite the raging inferno that had scarred the terrain a year earlier (nearly to the day), life was returning and, in some cases, had never left. 

Little did we know then what our day had in store. 

From one fire to another, we travelled homeward, the smoke constant and the charred hillsides popping up again and again.

I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this.

When I conceived the idea for the post on our drive home (we had been backpacking near Shaver Lake), it seemed to mean something.  All this damage.  All these fires.  I came home and looked up the names of each of them.  There were nine active and old fires that we either drove through, walked through, or saw the smoke from.  And if we saw the smoke it meant we were breathing it.  But now a month later when I’m finally get around to writing this?  That number would be thirteen instead of nine.  Four more fires started along the same corridor in the last four weeks.  One per week.  But, what does it mean?

Well, I don’t know.

Maybe it is enough to have been there and to share these words now and raise the question:  What does it mean?

Maybe these words are nothing more than a diary entry of sorts.  I went.  I saw.  There was devastation.  There was beauty.  And somehow that is right.  That is life.

Maybe this is nothing more than my mind trying to reconcile the memories from my youth when I was fascinated by fire while at the same time calculating the cost currently.  The forests that have burned now will not have grown back to what they were in my lifetime, nor in my children’s lifetime.  Anything that is lost now they will never get to experience.  These forests take too long to grow back.  They can’t just be instantly replaced like so much else in our lives.

Maybe it’s all of the above.

I don’t know.

round and round we go…

Plastic is the devil.  Which is interesting, considering that plastic was introduced as the savior of the environment.  “Use plastic bags to carry your groceries and you’ll be saving trees, the world, and, therefore, your souls.”  But, now we’ve learned the error of our ways and it is on to the next.  Round and round we go…

So, in California a law has been signed that outlaws the use of plastic bags in big chain stores starting next July, and rolled out to all stores in 2016.  Instead, consumers are being urged to use cloth bags or pay a surcharge for the use of paper bags.  (Wait, aren’t paper bags bad for the environment too?  Isn’t that why we started using plastic in the first place.  Now I’m confused…  But, I’m sure the ten cents per bag is being used to fund tree planting operations, right?  I’m sure that makes it okay.)

But, since we have proven to be shortsighted on these decisions in the past (really, who could have known all those plastic bags would wind up in riverbeds and clinging to the fences and shrubs that line our roads?) it does beg the question: when cloth bags are determined to also be bad for the environment (water wasted washing them?) or our health (unwashed or improperly washed bags make lovely homes for salmonella) what device for carrying our groceries will be forced upon us next?

How about reusing cardboard boxes to store and transport groceries like Costco and Trader Joe’s do?  Since the stores receive their goods in boxes in the first place, what happens to those?  They should definitely be given out to consumers to transport the goods rather than manufacturing new cloth bags for everyone to buy, spoil, and trash.  Right?  (I suggest buying copious amounts of stock in cardboard companies right now!  Buy early and often, as I always say.  (Yes, I say the same about voting.))  And then, being good stewards of the environment, as we have unanimously shown over the course of human “civilization,” I’m sure all those consumers would recycle the cardboard boxes after they were done with them.  Right?  (They certainly wouldn’t find their way to landfills or riverbeds or city streets…)

Though, there probably aren’t enough boxes to accommodate all purchases on a daily basis, so that option isn’t entirely feasible.  Dilemma, am I right?  But, why do we need bags (or boxes) at all?  Everything was in a cart (or buggy, if you prefer) or basket in the store, why can’t we all just push the carts to our cars and load everything up directly like that?  The onus should be on car manufacturers to install grocery receptacles in trunk spaces rather than trying to figure out how to get the goods from the store to the car in the first place.  We already do that.  Every time.  The goods always show up at our cars (like magic), so why do we need something additional to make that happen?  We don’t!  Problem solved.

We in the kingdom plan on taking that route, forgoing bagging contraptions altogether: one less thing to worry about!  (I’m always forgetting those stupid reusable bags anyway.)  But, we’d love to hear your solutions.  Do you have a brilliant idea?  Do you have a ridiculous idea?  We are open for both and everything in-between.  This is California, after all.

blazing wind

Warm light advances across the horizon,
The chilled night flees in anticipation,
Hot morning takes the field with a speed surprising,
And the cooling darkness dwindles low on rations.

Burning day wins the fight,
Blazing wind shows its might.

Tiny sparks dance about in their play,
Oblivious to the change and havoc,
And the role they hold in the fray,
As they turn to infernos of panic.

Burning day wins the fight,
Blazing wind shows its might.

The sun scorches all its fingered rays touch,
Unconcerned by the resultant layers of ash,
Burying those who remained in the clutch,
Crisping, frying, devouring, and all in a dash.

Burning day wins the fight,
Blazing wind shows its might.

This is not but prattle,
Frantic words slipped loose,
My mind, too, has lost the battle,
As the heat put my head in a noose.

I’m back!!

Well, sort of…

I mean, I have returned from Maine successfully, but there is still a mountain of work to do to actually be back up and running as per normal.  Unpacking, laundry, cleaning, getting back on west coast time, catching up on a week’s worth of work at work, and catching up on a week’s worth of blog posts that I missed.

I started that yesterday and made it alphabetically through the list of blogs I read all the way up to “E.”  Today we start with Fibot, Fear No Weebles, Fish of Gold, and then go from there.

Huge thank yous to Twindaddy, The Hook, Melanie, and Alisa for taking some time out of their busy schedules to post on the kingdom in my absence.  If you haven’t read their posts go do so now.  If you haven’t checked out their pages, shame on you, and also go do so now.  And click the follow button for each of them.  Official Matticus Kingdom proclamation and all that.

That’s right, “official.”  Do it.

I have travel stories that I will probably share at some point… but I’ll need some time to gather my thoughts on them and figure out how to say what I want to say.

First, however, I’m going to apologize to the two bloggers (Fearless Leader and JD) who had expressed an interest in hanging out while I was in the area… unfortunately, with the little prince not really being on a good schedule, everything taking longer than anticipated, and not spending as much time in Augusta as planned it didn’t work out to meet up with either of you.

And, second, we took our 5 month old across the country (from California to Maine) and back again: 4 planes, 600+ miles in a rental car, 120+ miles in our car to get to the first airport and then home again…

What.  Were.  We.  Thinking?!

Matticus goes walkabout

Hey all,

I stopped by She Said What? today to talk about the random places I’ve lived during my life, kind of, sort of… well, you should just head on over and check it.  And make sure you click on the Follow button while you are over there.  Steph is a special kind of awesomesauce and you won’t regret having her creative madness bombarding you.

Warning – my post has … um… foul language… and some less than G rated references.  It is not suitable for all audiences.  I’m not sure it’s suitable for any audiences.

Ugh… let me tell you, it’s one heck of plane flight down there and back.  Plus the days changed on me twice and now I have no idea what time it is or what day it is or where I am…

Australia is really, really hard to get to and back from in one day.  You might even say it is impossible.

Anyway, enough of that silliness… go check out my other silliness: