Not much. You?

It’s actually kind of nice this morning. The wind has died down to nothing and so the smoke from the fires seven miles away is just sort of meandering over here and loitering rather than galloping in. It’s keeping us fully twenty degrees cooler than predicted, too. The humidity has gone back up, which is also good, and we’re anticipating not having to check our hankies for blood and crud any day now.

All in all, it’s a fine orange day in the neighborhood. We have a number of friends who have had to leave their homes, and even those who have been wanting nothing more than to do that for the last six months are unhappy about the circumstances. So far our friends have found shelter that is not too odious and haven’t had to camp out in a school gymnasium somewhere whilst keeping distance from fellow possible disease vectors, which is truly unfair. But that’s the kind of year it’s been, right? The kind of year when there’s no room in the hospital for you even though you’ve broken all your bones slipping in locust poop.

We check the news several times a day to make sure our anxiety levels are topped up. Our next-door neighbor Anna reports she has a go-bag all ready, which is annoying of her, because it means we should have a go-bag ready but we don’t, and that leads to a lot of inner conflict between the sensible and lazy portions of our psyches. As a sort of compromise, we have begun to imagine what we might put in a go-bag if we ever got off our dead asses.

Peanut butter. That would be a good thing to put in, and we don’t seem to have any. We do have a mess of broccoli in the freezer and if we added popsicle sticks we might have a plan, but we don’t have popsicle sticks either. You’re supposed to put in all your important papers. I do not know what those might be. I truly don’t. Also your safety deposit box key, which is just silly. Can’t sleep in a safety deposit box.

Photos, mementos, all the things you’d really miss if you didn’t have them? There are fewer of those things all the time. I’ve wondered what I should do with my photo albums. I have scads of them. My heirs might be able to spend a fun evening looking through them once, especially the nude years, but after that there’d be this awful weight on them as they recognize they don’t want the albums but feel they must store them as some kind of mandatory monument. Honeys. Just throw them out. It’s okay. I should get around to doing it for you. Somehow I haven’t. I should get rid of my parents’ old albums also, but, well…you know. Somehow I haven’t.


So what would crush my soul if it didn’t make it out of a fire? That’s easy. Tater cat. And Pootie. Maybe not even in that order. And, I am not kidding, Pootie’s best friend Hajerle. Hajerle used to live with my sister Margaret and he came to live with us after she died. I don’t think I could bear to look into Pootie’s eye buttons if we managed to escape without Hajerle. I know this sounds emphatically dumb, especially to people who have lost family members and pets and have a good grip on what’s important in life, but this is a fact: the threads of love and grief are anchored in peculiar, personal ways. And even giving them an imaginary tug will reveal which ones are attached to the heart.

This morning it appears that Portland proper will escape the current inferno. But there is much to mourn. One of these things is the news that a whole lot of people in this country think the Black Lives Matter people are setting these fires. And that if you tell them they’re getting that BLM confused with the Bureau of Land Management, they will think: We knew it. We knew BLM had Management all along, and a headquarters, and shady overlords that hate America and want white people to die so they can steal their property.

I mourn this.

But Dave and Tater and Pootie and Hajerle and I are not on fire. We should probably work on that go-bag anyway. At this rate, there’s no way our predicted big-ass state-leveling earthquake won’t show up before the year is out.