Monday, October 27, 2003

i have tried, in my way, to be free

Yesterday afternoon I went to brunch in malibu with my parents. we drove to the beach not along the coast but up towards ventura and then down through malibu creek canyon. as we shot down the canyon toward the ocean, a deep red cloud hovered in the sky out the right-hand window (to the west, essentially.)

brunch was surreal. we were eating on a patio overlooking the ocean. to the west, our right as we looked out, the dark cloud blocked the sun, which shone through deep yellow and blood orange like a two hour apocalyptic sunset. 100 yards to the east, another fire was creeping down and out of a nearby canyon and was threatening to break further. The PCH, the highway that runs along the coast of california, was closed, and for the two hours we sat eating two red planes would fly a quarter-mile out from the shore, dip down to scoop up what must have been thousands of gallons of ocean water, then spin round and head back toward the flames.

the smoke itself hung (and hangs) like mist or fog in west LA; it would appear peaceful like an early evening on the coast of maine or a cool san francisco night were it not so hot (and only as long as you didn't know the world was burning). Because we lost an hour of light at night thanks to daylight savings time, it's hard to decide whether the creeping darkness is due entirely to the smoke cover or if the shock of losing an hour of sun contributes as well. All I know is that there is a menacing presence in the sky. It feels like something out of the old testament, somewhere between the 7 plagues and the destruction of sodom and gemorrah.

when i washed my face last night before bed, the grime and ash that had covered my face and was swirling into the drain of my bathroom sink made me think of Ginsberg's Sunflower Sutra.

the air is dry and harsh, the spectrum of light is off, and i haven't slept well for days. cheers, everybody.

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