Tag Archives: California fires

Art amid the flames….

Binding is attached, now to hand sew it to the back of the quilt.

A delicate balance exists in my heart right now; the devastation from the Sonoma, Napa, and Solano County fires is hard to wrap my head around, although every time I step outside I’m reminded by the smoggy sky and smoky aroma.  I’m feeling blessed to be out of the danger zone, but helpless when considering all that has been lost by so many.  I’ve written about this sensation recently,yet here are those emotions again.  In a matter of minutes homes were destroyed, whole neighborhoods wiped away.  The awesome power exhibited by these fires is chilling, and I struggle to find words strong enough to convey my thoughts.

My hubby came home early, and assisted in this photo shoot.

The last few nights I’ve been completing a quilt started months ago, but set aside for other projects in need of my attention.  Amid baseball playoffs, my husband would switch to the local news as I attended to a comforter meant for dear friends who before the end of the month will become first time grandparents.  This quilt was made for that coming nieta, but abuelos require a blanket too, for future days of cuddles and fortbuilding.  I’ll send it off once the good news arrives, so when they return home after meeting their newest family member, a quilt will remind them of love far away.

I had worried about over-quilting it, but I’m pleased with how it looks upon being washed.

And therein lies the basis for these reflections, how life continues even when so much seems impossible to believe.  I have to admit that once I had attached the binding on this quilt, joy overwhelmed me, for how long it’s taken this project to come to fruition and the bliss attached to it.  Yet to go outside to photograph it immediately hearkened to tragedy and ruin.  I tackle these themes in my writing, how much good can come from what seems so bleak.  But reality is a sledgehammer compared to fiction.  It’s a lot for this grandma to ponder.

The back is probably one of my best efforts. A nice contrast to the blues….

One thing I can do is use my time and talents to lessen the pain of others.  The second set of plus blocks still waiting to be sewn together will be donated, along with a few other of my creations, once I turn those blocks into a finished comforter.  There is of course prayer, which I have offered fervently on behalf of those who are now homeless, as well as all those working above and beyond the call to contain these fires.  Then there is a focused appreciation for my quiet little neck of the proverbial woods; daily irritations slip away when the massive scope of such desolation is considered.  And finally a post written to somehow take stock, even if just a few scattered words trying to make sense of what seems so senseless.

Special thanks to my better half for making these shots possible.

What comes back to me is how brief are our lives, and how vital it is to do good, to love, and to hope for the best.  Sometimes that is all we can do.

It’s a Big Wide World Indeed, The Prequel

After nearly two weeks away, it’s so good to be home!  I enjoyed time with family and friends, hanging out at the lake or visiting the nation’s capital.  Did some stitching and sewing and plenty of good eating, but this initial post-holiday piece focuses on my flight home yesterday.  The skies need to be noted before I get into what happened on the ground.

And to be honest, this post probably wouldn’t have emerged if not for what I saw on the last leg of my cross-country journey; I started Monday in Baltimore, heading for Silicon Valley.  Two stops, one in Minnesota, the other in Los Angeles, but schedules were smooth, and I kept myself busy with music and reading over what I’d just added to The Hawk.  My layover at Minneapolis/St. Paul was brief, but I managed a bowl of cereal with soy milk, charging up my phone for the haul across the southwest.  Back in Maryland, my hosts asked if heading to LA would be difficult what with the fires.  I said I didn’t think so, and sure enough, we landed safely at LAX with a minor two-minute walk to my next gate, providing me time to chat with my husband, who couldn’t wait to see me.

One of the best parts of coming home is being appreciated.

We discussed dinner; he had a watermelon in the fridge, which suited me perfectly.  We were thankful my flight was on time; he was leaving straight from work to collect me.  We noted that traveling becomes more wearisome as age steals some of our energy, but truthfully neither of us could complain outright, for his trip home had been fine, and mine seemed the same.  It makes for a long day, but after a couple of nights’ rest, life returns to relative normal, once the routines are reestablished.

Goodness knows I’m a creature of habit, but getting out of California is good for me, experiencing intriguing vistas only found far away.  Or up high in a plane where the scenery makes me snap shots that otherwise I’d never see.  As we left Los Angeles, I photographed the ocean, the remnants of fires in the background.

The haze grew worse as we ventured north.  Then suddenly amid the clouds appeared a large puff of smoke.  I kept snapping, wondering which fire this was, mesmerized from my vantage point.  The scene was unreal, yet all too authentic.  Clouds have always fascinated me, but this was wholly different.

As we flew past, the scope of that moment stayed with me; I’d just spent nearly two weeks in locales where summer rain is common, also plentiful.  As my flight passed from Nebraska into Colorado, the landscape began to alter, and by the time we flew over Denver, another America greeted me, that of mountains and high deserts, of rock and dryness and fire.  These two sides of The United States possess many opposing elements, but from green to grey to startling brown, the differences couldn’t be more stark.

On Sunday I’d stood in the rain at the National Mall, very near the Korean War Memorial.  Not even the trees could shelter me and a friend from that downpour, yet no rain falls in California in the summertime.  I shared that notion with my hosts as we drove back in a pounding storm; I grew up to the idea it never rained at all in summer.  Yet I spent much of Sunday in a muggy dampness that refreshed, also startled.  A day later, that notion was but a fleeting memory.   Yes I was home and glad to be so, but if only a little of that precipitation could have followed me.

As we reached the Bay Area, skies cleared some, but those images from minutes before remained within me.  When we landed, I was so excited to see my husband and be back in my element, which always seems more lovely when time has elapsed.  I mentioned what I’d seen, but in the exhilaration of being near my beloved, that cloud of smoke dissipated.  My hubby and I had been apart for nearly four days, and it wasn’t until later that I again considered the havoc, also the majestic but haunting beauty of that image.  Then I thought about this post.

This post-vacation entry was originally going to be packed with shots from the lake, some from the National Mall, with musings concerning how nice it was to get away.  Today’s title was what I’d come up with days ago, jotted down so I’d not forget it.  Hopefully I’ll find a minute to share those notions, although upon returning, there are revisions to complete, read-overs to do, place mats to make, some Christmas quilts to start, my goodness!  But in all those blessed and busy moments, first came this somewhat scattered but vital point; our planet is enormous and so volatile.  Floods destroy as easily as fire; Ellicott City in Maryland was recently devastated by saturating rains.  When I step out of my comfort zone, not only am I breathing in the goodness of those I love, I’m absorbing other vistas which broaden my outlook, increasing my empathy.  I’m no longer a world traveler, but America is vast enough to offer the opposing ends of the spectrum from one coast to the other.  Now back in dry California, I consider standing under that grove of trees as water dripped from leafy branches until our one dry spot was gone.  We stepped from that shelter onto the sidewalk across from a refreshments stand, watching as clouds passed over the Lincoln Memorial, the rain heading elsewhere.  If only it could find its way westward, I prayed….

Yours truly at the National Mall once the rain had stopped….