Posted by: atowhee | September 10, 2020


“God gave Noah the rainbow sign
No more water, the fire next time…”
from the spiritual “Mary Don’t You Weep”
and with a bow of respect to James Baldwin.

It seems now that what is burning and burned is the wrong fuel. Our species is quickening the destruction of the natural world when it is our nation-states and corporations and individual irresponsibilities that are now threatening survival of so many organisms. It is not greed nor the products of rapacious capitalism that are burning, it is trees, it is part of Beirut, it is homes of people just getting along, it is the souls of people who see the brutality and injustice of our legal and enforcement regimes in nation after nation, from Belarus to Brazil to Beirut to Boston.
We won’t spend the money to underground our electric wires so we instead pay billions for fire-fighting and take huge public and private losses from preventable fires. One couple in SoCal throws a party and then a firecracker in the tinder-dry forest and burns thousands of acres. Like the deaths from covid the destruction is partially preventable and partially due to individuals’ bad judgement and is especially bad in nations where the government is used for power and money, not caring about what’s best for the people there. It is no accident that the US, India, Brazil and Russia have the most admitted cases of covid. Each has an authoritarian leader whose own power and money is the first consideration in national policy and action.

So to take my mind off the lamentable, pathetic situation in which much of the population of our species now lives, I try to watch those creatures who live in spite of us, sometimes beside us.

Silent yesterday, both the flicker and local crows are back making calls today. The Bushtit flock passed my window about 1030AM, checking buddleia flower clusters for insects, then moving on. I feel sorry for our many garden spiders–every web is corrupted by bits of ash and soot that have stuck to the threads. There are some bees on the roses, asters and other blooming plants. I see no butterflies at all. The tree squirrels are about business as usual–today dining on pears that are still in the tree. All outside surfaces are covered with the fine grit that came from the Cascade fires on the recent winds.

The sky mi-day. The jay on sentinel duty as usual–nothing goes on around here that they do not monitor between the tepid dawn and the dirty dusk of our Oregon fire season.

Don’t tell the White House.
Click here for why the colors that come with smoke in the air.

La Nina is coming, so that could mean a colder and wetter winter here in Oregon…if we survive until it arrives.

Fire apocalypse–have we reached peak flames yet? Probably not, according to this report.


  1. Thanks for sharing your refreshing and far-ranging perspectives.

  2. Usually our garden air is alive with hundreds of native insects but not in the smoke, I wonder how their tiny airways filter out the smoke, are they gone now for good? Hoping their larvae survive the winter and emerge safely from the ground next summer

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