smoke

Oh No, Not Again!

I was on the phone this afternoon with my son, paying only partial attention to the skies as they transitioned from bright sunshine to a peachy gunmetal gray, which worked its way up from the horizon until the entire sky was filled. Bob placed a piece of paper in my lap that said it was smoky outside. And the words came to mind, “oh no, not again!”

It took a bit of online searching and a leap of the imagination to believe that the smoke was blowing all the way from Butte County, where a new and fast growing firestorm was blowing through 15,000 acres with no signs of slowing, and 1000 ‘s of people were fleeing. Oh no, not again.

And I still thought that referred just to the fire.

ono not again

acrylic and cheesecloth texture on watercolor paper, 10 X 11″

Out in my studio  I looked around for a way to give shape to what I was feeling. A cheesecloth textured piece reminded me of a horizon in flames.  I knew I was looking for the faces of those who would be fleeing the conflagration.

We refer to a mask of fear, of sorrow, and this is what I wanted as a kind of prayer of solidarity. Yes, I was grateful to find out that the fire was not closer, at least not this time, but. . .I still feel the fear, and the loss.

And then I’m watching the evening news about the shooting in Thousand Oaks, a country western music night for young people, some of whom lost their lives and others who will never feel totally safe again. And then the news announcer uses these words, “people are saying oh no, not again”.

Smoke

We’ve been warned about the toxic smoke in the air from the north bay area fires. After getting the phone text alert from Sebastopol PD, I got to the Senior Center just as they ran out of face masks. Next stop was Ace Hardware where they were handing out 3 per  (anxious) person from big boxes. I got the kind with the vent and the rating of 95. Only problem is it’s still the most uncomfortable, suffocating experience to wear it, and doesn’t protect the eyes at all. Today I tried walking up to my neighbor’s house up the hill and was fed up with it before I got there. I recommend staying inside. . .if you can. . .when the smoke chokes the air. Tomorrow hopefully clearer skies?

facemask

(Sketched from phone selfie)