Sunday, October 21, 2007

Time and Distance

Total Est. Time: 43 minutes Total Est. Distance: 35.04 miles

That's how far away I am from one of the places that a newscaster stood to interview people who refuse to evacuate their homes in Ramona.

Given the mayor, fire chief and police chief's information, I should feel confident that our home is a perfectly safe place to stay. I know that we are in the city. I know that the city does not burn (San Francisco post-earth quake, early 20th century excepted). I know that we are safe.

But the press conference they just held was to announce that the fire is moving faster than expected from the Eastern and Northern parts of San Diego County, and instead of crossing City Limits around 5 a.m. will be arriving early--around 1 a.m.

Only one hour away.

"Wind gusts 70 mph... Hurricane force winds.... Hauntingly reminiscent of the Cedar Fires of four years ago."

Four years ago Justin and I were driving to San Francisco for his interview there. While he explored his medical school options there, I called my friend Jen to enter our home and gather our wedding albums. I could not think of anything else important to keep. To ask a new mother to carry her child over and add to her carload of belongings, ready to evacuate.

Then, we lived closer to the fire land--3 miles from the burn.

Now I don't think I really understand where I am within these flames.

Poway Unified School District is closed tomorrow.

I turned down a job offer there in 1998. I have friends who teach there, students who competed there...

I should just go to sleep. But I remember four years ago. People went to sleep because they didn't know the fire was so fast, they hadn't been told to evacuate, they talked to some officials and were told they should wait to see.

Smoke choked them awake and then choked their cars to a halt and choked some people to death.

The Cedar Fire.

Witch Fire.

Harris Fire.

Sleep.

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