Hundred twelve, no rain to speak of in a month. Lead plant (Amphora) roots go nine feet down in clay soil, switch grass seven. How low is the water now? The grass breaks under our feet, we set out sprinklers more out of pity for the birds than for salvage. The small garden outside my study draws them to my window. For this gift they allow us to sit, faces pressed to dirty glass and watch – Mockingbird, Cardinal, Orchard Oriole, Titmouse, wren. Even the hummingbirds perch in the spray. Chickadees and house finches on the sill, singing loud enough to be heard two rooms away.
We were fooled this year into believing this brutality wouldn’t come. Now, I tell myself, it is too late to shave the Sheltie. I cool him with a wet wash cloth laid like a saddle blanket across his back. Walks are rare and short. My walking shoes get chewed. Wastebaskets are emptied. Yes, I get the message. Training exercises, inside, are a welcome distraction though the older dog tries to hijack the class. Succeeds.
We knew it was a matter of time and today the fires came. My husband asked to drive out “that way” because “that way” was where he once lived with his first wife. Where he raised his son. As usual, I didn’t have my camera. No wide angle lens to capture the smoke and flames if I did have my camera. I told my husband this is why I need a wide angle lens. He finally “got it.” The farmers let the horses loose to out run the fires. These grass fires come every year. Trees burn. This time several large structures but no houses. An electrical power station and the fairgrounds threatened but saved. We have been under a burn ban for several weeks, which will continue for several more weeks as will the fires.