With summer we don’t welcome in the fire season, but fire season is here none the less.
I had to go downtown this morning, and from the freeway saw two plumes of fire coming up as if the entire world was on fire or giant pits down to Hell had opened up. From the color of the smoke it looked like grass fires. A larger fire just north of here has burned maybe 12,000 acres. I’m not sure, it keeps growing. We’ll soon start to hear of more fires in all directions. After the devastation last year in Sonoma and Napa Counties, Lake County and other areas in California it seems even more tragic for it to start all over again.
Behind my home we’ve cut back the brush. I’ve cleared my property. We’ve put in fire sprinklers.
As I drove along the freeway looking at the smoke plume in the distance I saw a religious billboard. It just seemed weird, you know the smoke and the message all at once.
This week missionaries and members of several churches (you know who I’m talking about) have been coming around and leaving pamphlets. A few years ago yellow jackets swarmed a nice pair of men who came around to tell me about the Bible. I’m often tempted to tell them we’re Vampires. Not that we’re evil. Oh we are so misunderstood. Another reason why most folks don’t know we’re real.
But back to the nice people who smile and ask me too many personal questions about my beliefs, what I really need to ask is for them to pray that we don’t have the fire devastation that we have had in the West for the past few years – from Canada to Mexico it has been horrible.
Right now I can smell smoke but I’m not sure where it is from. The sky is too hazy to tell.
When my brother Val and I were teens, around fourteen and fifteen (1873 or 74) we found a way to keep cold in the hot burning summer days.
He stole the key to a church basement (which is no longer there) and a way to get into a seldom used private chapel. Bodies would be put there before burial to keep from rotting so quickly in the summer heat. Also food would be stored in another section behind locked doors.
Yes, it was horrible and wrong for any teens, and we’re Vampires so that even adds more to the wrongness of it all, but we didn’t hurt anyone. Our parents would have hit the roof, but that is another post.
I’d lay as still as death on the cool floor. My skin seemed to melt, not like candle wax, but like burning hard sealing wax. Hair twisted around my neck and clung to my forehead. I couldn’t open my eyes.
Suddenly an icy cold shroud covered me. I sank into the floor even more. A relief to my burning Hell had come.
I could hear my brother Val laughing.
“Thank you,” I whispered. “I thought I was going to absolutely melt.”
Val lay down on the floor beside me and pulled the icy wet sheet over the both of us.
“I hate the heat,” I said to him.
“I know you do,” he replied.
We lay in the dark, on the cold marble floor. The triple digit summer air encased us, drying out the wet sheet. I hooked my index finger with his as we lay as still as death together, trying to find some comfort.
With my eyes still closed I could hear footsteps coming into the room. I couldn’t will myself to move. I was so hot and so uncomfortable.
I’m not a creature who has a wide range of temperature control. The heat makes me want to hibernate or go into a coma.
I could feel someone lift the sheet from our still faces. We opened our eyes wide, not with our natural color, but with solid black. You know, the old black-eyed children trick. It works every time.
A gasp and a cry filled the air, then the sound of the poor lady running away from us.
Val threw back the sheet and propped himself up on his arm. Looking towards the doorway he laughed. “She thought we were dead.”
“And so we are, well sort of,” I answered looking at his pale face, made even paler by the dark hair falling over his forehead.
Today, about ninety summers later the heat still shuts me down. My daughter mentioned that today.
“Dad said you never did well in the heat.”
“No. I don’t.” And that is true as I sit here burning up with my hands sticking to the computer keyboard.
Every single summer the heat rises to triple digits F-ing Farenheit. And every single summer the hot walls of heat hit me so hard that every cell in my body wants to shut down. It should be no surprise, especially since I choose to live here. Then again, it is hot everywhere in the West, aside from the coast and the mountains. Maybe one day I’ll pack up and move, but until then, there are wet sheets and ice.
Oh, one more note, as a public service announcement. When it gets hot PLEASE make sure your dogs don’t end up with burnt feet. If it is too hot for you to walk on the hot pavement with bare feet it is too hot for your dogs. My friend Amelia in Las Vegas used to put booties on her old dog for walks in the hot desert neighborhoods. And triple check their water – cat water too.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman