Fires in the trees

I’ve got one tiny glimmer of something akin to hope attached to the fact that there’s a front of rain moving into California. It burns me to hear of those huge ancient trees on fire. Driving through the redwoods on Labor Day in solitude and contemplation last year, I felt the weight of their years. I didn’t know how lucky I was to hit them on a public holiday where I could be alone. Sure, I couldn’t find food or water easily, but I have always felt an affinity with those trees after the boarding school I was sent to aged 8 had one in the grounds. I got to spend a flash of time with them before they underwent more hardship.

Most of the papers are quick to inform us that it was sparked by a pyrotechnic device at a “gender reveal party”, where expecting American parents tell their friends what gender their baby will be and fire a crap firework. I’m not sure why we need to know the cause – it’ll be shit for the kid growing up and I don’t even know if it’s a girl or a boy. Knowing how it started might help to make accidental firestarting more possible to people who think of things like gender reveal parties as commonplace. “Fires are easy to start,” might be the message. “And not easy to put out. Don’t be a tit.”

Walking in the hills last year around this time, looking down on San José from a wood of new growths I commented on the amount of dry birch bark by the sides of the path. “Surely just a cigarette could start a blaze,” I said. “It has before,” said Lisa, and she showed me a chimney tree. Redwoods can survive pretty well in fire, as they become their own chimneys, but nothing could survive the fires I’ve been reading about. And a firefighter lost his life today.

It’s one thing after another at the moment. And now the unkempt sock puppet is starting to close bits of the North and everybody is talking about lockdown again and I really can’t bear to contemplate it happening all over again but colder. At least I’m better now at building a Green Screen with distance and perspective. I can have fun with boys toys. But I’m worried sick about money plus I’m about to speculate on Airbnb. Kitcat is packing her stuff at last. We are gonna try and fit it all in the Nissan and shoot up to Glasgow next week. London to Glasgow. 8 hours. I drove longer than that through the redwoods and thought it nothing…

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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