choose one: scylla, charybdis



I’ve lived through my fair share of apocalypish circumstances: spent fall of 2001 in downtown Manhattan, found myself in the aftermath of Hurricane Opal in 1995 and Fran in 1996, was near the epicenter of the Whittier Quake in 1987, and was a Carolina basketball fan in 2002. However, there’s nothing quite like a Los Angeles basin wildfire, and one is burning several miles to the north of us while I speak.

The last few days in LA have been kind of awful: the Santa Ana winds, usually harbingers of clean air from the desert, brought in 100+ degree temperatures and make your lips crack open and bleed while you sleep. It’s like living in the mouth of a hair dryer. Worse yet, the winds bring these giant infestations of termites that clog up your bathtub and flitter around like locusts. I went into Lucy’s room today, and there were termites all over her crib, like a deleted scene from “The Exorcist.”

Wildfires down here are simply Dante-esque in their utter calamity. You can be driving down the freeway and fires will be raging on either side, like those Jack Chick comic tracts about the Rapture. There is this pressing feeling of no escape, and with the news about Alaska melting it feels rather hopeless and bleak. I’m just no good in hot weather, and it seems like that’s all the 21st century has to offer.

The only upside to these fires is the smoke that blows to sea, sluicing through the sun and creating these sickeningly beautiful sunsets. I made Tessa and Lucy stop the car so I could take a few pictures where Wilshire Blvd. hits the Pacific:


important to find beauty and drama where you can

0 thoughts on “choose one: scylla, charybdis

  1. tregen

    The sunsets in Laguna have been some of the most beautiful I’ve seen. The down side is I haven’t slept in two days and can’t wait for the winds to turn. I may have to break down and buy a fan for the house.

  2. Tim

    As a recent transplant to Southern California from the Midwest, driving home two nights ago on I-10 with fires raging just a few hundred feet away scared the living bejesus out of me. I kept turning on the radio to see if I should just keep going to Phoenix. What amazes me is the folks here, for the most part, remain unfazed by all of it. I’ll come into work a shell of myself and all my co-workers can talk about are things like Phil Jackson’s return. They’ve built an immune system to the natural disaster opportunity costs that come with living here. I’ve got a LONG way to go on building mine. To recap, wildfires, earthquakes, 50 mph winds—do the locusts come in the fall or spring? I don’t seem to recall any Beach Boys songs about this. Best of luck with your projects in LA.

  3. Liana

    I go to school at Cal State Northridge. When I was driving to school yesterday I could see the remnants of the fires formed into a huge atomic bomb mushroom. It was amazing. By late afternoon, the sky had burnt and ashes began to fall all over campus. It felt like the beginning of hell on earth.

  4. Ian

    Hey Liana-
    I just read your blog – did you know “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” was the song we selected for our first dance at our wedding?


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