Here's a photo that I took from my driveway during winter months. . .
|Photo: Snow-dusted mountains|
. . . and here's a photo taken from my driveway today. Notice how the mountains aren't even visible.
|Photo: Smoke-obscured mountains|
The cause of our haze is the Sand Fire, which started yesterday and has grown to 20,000 acres. It is currently 10% contained.
One thing that I have learned by living here is that summer is fire season, and it's always going to be a bad one. If we have a year with normal precipitation, it will be a bad fire season because of all the new plant growth brought on by the moisture. If we have a year with less-than-normal rainfall (most years!), it will be a bad fire season because everything is dried out and dying.
"Summer" just doesn't sound as fun when it translates to "fire season."
Last night, John and I went down to the Hollywood Bowl to a Weird Al concert. This is what we saw on the way down the freeway:
|Photo: Smoke rises from the Sand Fire|
|Photo: Flames leap in the hills just off the freeway|
2. I'm thankful for my dad. Did I ever mention that he used to fight forest fires, too? No matter what he takes on--fighting fires, teaching middle-school students, building a house, planting a garden, tying fishing flies, or taking photographs--he is my hero. He had a birthday this past week--Happy birthday, Dad!
3. I'm thankful for each of my children. This week, (rather-reserved) youngest daughter asked if she was going to make my list this week. I gladly agreed to share this photo, with her permission. I'm proud of her for many reasons. I put this before and after photo together so that she could recognize how much progress she has made on her own goal to get healthy.
|Photo: On left, youngest daughter in September 2015, after getting her hair done. On right, a selfie taken by same daughter in July 2016, after losing weight and hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park.|
5. I'm thankful for a working washing machine. Right before our trip last week, the washer stopped functioning properly. John was able to repair it this week. :-)
6. I'm thankful that the place we stayed in St. George had a washer and dryer. We took all our dirty laundry with us on vacation. It was nice to come back home with clean clothes!
7. I'm thankful for pioneers. If you happen to live in Utah, or if you are Mormon, you know that July 24 is Pioneer Day. July 24, 1847 was the day that Brigham Young and the first pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley after a 1300 mile trek across the country. Many of the pioneers arrived in wagon trains, but a significant number came pushing and pulling handcarts, including some of John's relatives.
Years ago, John and I got to be part of a handcart pioneer trek re-enactment. We were gone for less than a week, and our mileage might have been 20 miles total (I really don't know), but just that little exposure gave me a real sense of gratitude for the families who made that journey. We had porta-potties, we had a dependable source of food and water, and we had access to emergency help if needed. The pioneers had none of that. In the real pioneer trek, people died. Women gave birth along the way. Women were widowed and ended up having to pull their handcarts without their husbands there to help them. They went through so much for the cause of religious freedom.
8. I'm thankful for clear water. This week was "clean out the aquarium filter" week, and I really love the clarity of the water after each filter change. I love watching the fish grow.
9. I'm thankful for working vehicles. I still am taken aback when someone refers to our cars as "old" models. I mean, the cars came off the assembly line in this century! In any case, John and I are of opinion that as long as the car is running, why replace it? (Of course, there always comes a time when it is more sensible to replace than repair, but we are not in that situation currently.)
10. I'm thankful for John. When we got to the parking lot yesterday--we always park at the LA Zoo and catch a shuttle when we attend a performance at the Hollywood Bowl--the woman in the car next to ours rolled down her window and exclaimed, "There are still gentlemen in the world!" I am so spoiled, because John always gets the door for me. I forget that the sight of a man opening a car door for a woman is not the norm. I do tell John, "Thank you," but I probably should put a little more thought into my thanks.
So, what do you call this season? Is it "summer," "winter," "fire season," or something else?
A Fly on our (Chicken Coop) Wall, Amycake and the Dude, Considerings, Finding Ninee, Getting Literal, I Want Backsies, The Meaning of Me, Thankful Me, Uncharted, The Wakefield Doctrine