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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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children of dune - leto 1
Through most of the summer, the idea of wildfires stripping the parched Texas landscape was pretty much acknowledged as 'highly likely' up to 'still a surprise it hasn't happened yet', which if you've seen the land down here, it really seemed like it should be happening at any second.

This weekend I visited my grandparents north of Cameron, out in a combination of faintly brush and tree-like landscape broken by seared yellow fields and a surprising variety of livestock, and though no fire has been reported anywhere near them, I couldn't stop smelling smoke. The entire goddamn drive from Austin to their house and back again was field after field and house after house and no rivers to cross, few lakes, nothing but the kindling-dryness everywhere I looked.

There's really not a fine line between understanding high risk potential and reality; it's a chasm. It got a lot worse when I stopped to jot up my extended family; on both sides we're sixth to seventh generation central Texan (yeah, I took a moment on that one, too) and pretty much my entire genetic line (excluding those living in Colorado, Australia, and apparently, Thailand) are within a one hundred mile radius. I don't even know all of them really well, or even more than a meeting or two, but it hit me all over again yesterday at a thing with my dad's first cousins while they started going down the list to see who was where. Only a couple are in Bastrop, and while they've been evacuated twice, their homes haven't been in direct danger yet. There's no greater risk to anywhere else now than there was last week.

Today at work, I get the feeling I'm not the only one who spent part of the weekend skimming lists of relatives and where they are now and unable to relax, because no matter what, everywhere seems to smell of smoke, even when it doesn't.

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the area that got pretty much wiped off the map up in the Catskills is right around my folks and pretty much my entire paternal line. I spent a lot of the previous weekend on the phone and looking at maps and videos online, watching shit like my orthodontist's office floating down the street, and the diner where I used to go with my dad reduced to nothing but a busted roof stuck out of a pile of mud, and... yeah.

I feel you, I really truly do.

Oh god, that was why I had to leave California, the summer I spent there. I reached a place where the smoke hung low in the air and you had to look up at a 45 degree angle to see anything like blue sky and there were ten foot billows of smoke rolling down the streets of my city and I just had to bolt. I was getting texts at 2 am from friends about how the fire was maybe 5 miles from their house and the sky looked like Mordor. I snapped and freaked out at work and that is how I learned never ever to take other people's anxiety meds, not even if you kind of need them, because panic attacks are not necessarily worse than being flat like a pancake who can't move and is only vaguely, slurringly conscious.

My friend's post about the brush fires that year.

Um... in conclusion, I don't know how it is to have that much family, all potentially affected, but I remember how scary that kind of fire is, even when you're not directly affected. I'm sorry it's a reality of yours even a little. I will wish you some of our rain. :-/

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