May 23, 2008

With apologies to Bob Seger

I awoke this morn to the smell of smoke
How far off I lay and wondered
Started closing windows, one then two
Ain't it funny how the smoke moves
When you just seem to have so much to lose
Strange how the smoke moves
With wildfire closing in

Not exactly what you're hoping for as you regain consciousness. Thankfully, no, our place wasn't on fire. Unfortunately, it's the result of a big wildfire not far from here.

I've mentioned before that I live in Silicon Valley. But, for those of you who don't already know it, I currently live in Los Gatos, which is at the base of the Santa Cruz mountains. This map shows really well where Los Gatos is in relation to the fire -- find where it says "17" to the left of the flames, then go up a bit. Not super-close, but it's a 3,400-acre fire at the moment, so it's plenty close enough.

Yesterday, the wind was moving south really fast and hard, which made it bad for the fire-fighting efforts, but it kept the smoke blowing in the opposite direction from us. During the night, though, the wind died and the smoke drifted back our way, so I woke up with it tickling my nose.

It's nothing, I realize, compared to what people in the area are dealing with right now, and I'm feeling for them and the incredible loss a fire like this brings. But everyone has to look out for their own well-being, so I'm planning on decamping for the weekend -- a time when I normally never travel -- to have, at the very least, a little better air quality for a few days.

So here's wishing everyone in the States (I say that because, remarkably, I get quite a number of overseas and northerly visitors...not that you'd know it!) a lovely Memorial Day Weekend. May all your barbecues be...contained.