Fire Season

Last weekend it started, again. The fires. It’s my third “fire season” here in LA now, and this round the emergency-state (and the smoke down here) just lasted a couple of days (the first year we didn’t leave the house for about a week, basically), but it was an equally scary and upsetting experience. When talking about it with friends, I went back to read my own words from last year’s big fires in Malibu and up north, and am finding the words still valuable to…feel, and act on. So, below is a repost of those words (link to original post here):

Waking up early, neither of us can go back to sleep, so instead we turn on our phones to read about the fires. Only to learn that they have spread even more, and as we try to figure out the maps, we realize that our friends’ houses are very much in the fire zones now, not only “quite close” as they were yesterday. Hundreds of people have already lost their homes, and we both get tears in our eyes for all the destruction going on.

After a while we sit at the bench in front of “our” new house, that we moved to just a week ago – or are still moving in to, as it feels. We look at the garden, talk about the plants we want to bring in, bring up, invite, to the space here. We talk about a rug we maybe want to get, to keep the room warmer and more cozy for the winter to come.

The smoky clouds are building up in front of us, and we figure that we soon should move inside, and just about then the winds pick up and Anna starts coughing. Time to move inside.

All those big houses, now in flames. I feel for the people, losing all their…”belongings”, right now. And it also just feels so clear, that it is an insane belief of ours, this one that we can “own”, any single thing. That we can own land. That we can own a home. That we can own…yes, anything at all. And I imagine a world where all people live within reasonable means. In tinier houses, with fewer possessions. Knowing that where we live is just where we live right now. It’s a loan. And then when the fire comes, if or when it does, the catastrophe isn’t the same, it’s just more about the cycle of nature. Nature needs these fires – or, not these, more or less man-fueled ones, the ones that grows abnormally large, thanks to exceptionally dry conditions driven by climate change – and houses built where probably they shouldn’t be. But still. Nature needs fire, to some extent, fire isn’t always a disaster, in its original form. It creates new living spaces, clears the soil, invites new inhabitants.

It’s when we, people, humankind, occupy the land, and think we own it, that “they”, the fires, become this disastrous thing. They would still be a dramatic thing to witness, but less so in the sense of loss, such big loss. My thoughts, circling around this topic, still allows for compassion and love for the people struggling now, because we have all (almost all) been raised like this, with these beliefs. We’ve been tricked into believing in ownership, in “us above all”, believing we’re in control, when in fact we are not. At all. There is something so very tilted in all this, a system that is not working, for anyone, in the end. And it’s all linked together. And now, maybe the destruction that has come with it – climate change, poisoning of lands, oceans, air – is what will in the end destroy it, the system. Force us to change. It would have been nice to have this change happening without this destruction having to happen first. But maybe we’re just not capable, as it seems. Or, maybe we still have a chance, maybe we can turn it around, if all of us speak up, act better, read more, study more, change habits and beliefs. Maybe we then can move to a smaller house, own and spend less, before the fire catches our big house, to use a picture close to home right now?

I do believe so, and I’m starting, continuing, with myself. I want to be ready in my own life for the moves that might be needed. And I want to contribute with what I can, for more people to come to that point, to actually take action. Let’s do this. Let’s do this now, not tomorrow or later. But now. Let’s start with whatever we can. We can change our travel plans from plane to train. Leave the car at home and take the bus (or, if we live in LA….engage with politicians to make that shift being even possible to start with). We can shift our focus from possessing ever more and more, to live within the limits of our surroundings. We can check where our water comes from, and investigate if our household’s use of it is the most efficient it can be. Before our next purchase, we can check ourselves on why we want this thing, and if it is really true that we need it. We can check the materials it’s made of – where do they come from, how have they been developed? Where will the thing go when we no longer need or want it – can it be recycled then, or will it end up in a landfill, somewhere on earth? Actually, do we know where our trash does end up right now?

And so on. Just start. Start living better, nicer, kinder. “Nature” doesn’t care, really. It will survive, in one form or another. And if we really feel so entitled to think that we can leave a so much different “nature” behind, than the one we arrived to when we were born…then, just for our own sake, still, and our children and their children. Start caring now. Please start caring. More than you ever did before. Please. Please care.




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