|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
LOOKS LIKE UNDER THE VOLCANO
California's Two Seasons: Flood and Fire
If you're in the U.S., and have a passing acquaintance with the national news, you've probably seen the fires west of Los Angeles, California. If you live where I do you've seen them without turning on the TV. Seems like every eight to ten years the hills directly adjacent to this area burst into flame. This time they're close enough to send up a plume of smoke reminiscent of a volcanic eruption.
For the most part, it's confined to a sparsely inhabited area. But sparsley doesn't equate to uninhabited. The canyons and ridges the flames are roaring over and through have long been an area where those seeking solitude or some place they can be themselves without worrying what the neighbors think have long sought refuge. DOWNSIDE, when they burn they are damned hard to get fire crews and equipment into. Some inevitably lose homes and out buildings, some lose everything, but they'll return to rebuild. What's the old definition of insanity...Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? If anyone suggests restrictions on the type of construction or where they can erect their dreams, they'll scream like hell about government interference. If the rest of us demand changes to codes and permitting they'll say it's none of our business.
Uh, if I'm helping to foot the bill for protecting your fucking palace in the clouds, you want to bet I feel entitled to a say in the matter. These aren't tar paper shacks and motor homes. They're the domiciles of the rich and shameless and I think it's about time we started approaching them for a bigger chunk of the inevitable cost of keeping them from becoming piles of ashes. I know, I'm supposed to be a bit more compassionate, but when you're looking down at me from your toney enclaves, putting up gates and fences and cutting off access to some of the prettiest natural locales in this area (Even calling the sheriff to report trespassers in your hills) I run out of gee whiz. Oh well.
In between strolls out front to watch the smoke, ash, and water bombers, I've spent the day sending out four different short stories to four different publications and reviewing a poetry submission or two without making a real decision on that one. Even as Rome burnt, somebody was down in the arena shoveling out the stalls and cages. As always, the fires will be extinguished and it will take several years for the fuel to grow back. In the meantime we'll watch other fires and the inevitable floods break out. The re-building will start again and again They tell me it's part of living in Paradise. Makes Sedona, Pueblo, or Taos look better by the minute.
Meanwhile...live, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis