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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