August 19, 2016 by Petrea
There’s something romantic about a writing retreat. A lonely cabin, a cup of coffee on the porch in the morning with your feet up on the rail, a cozy log fire at night. The best is the hours of isolation during the quiet days and long, starry nights to create your work, where your mind can play freely without the interruption of a ringing phone or the black hole of the internet.
Or a raging wildfire.
I’ve been looking forward to a break from daily burnout in the form of a week’s writing residency, which was scheduled to happen next week in the San Gabriel Mountains near Wrightwood, California. My lonely cabin: an apartment in a US Forest Service lodge. That coffee on the porch in the morning: I could taste it, smell it. The log fire: well, the last thing our mountains need is more fire.
If you’ve heard of the Blue Cut Fire in the Cajon pass, I don’t have to say much more. My residency has been postponed. Hundreds of firefighters are working to protect mountain communities. Whole towns have been evacuated, including Wrightwood. We’re used to brush fires, but this season is a bad one. The Forest Service does not need me under foot right now.
That’s fine with me. My disappointment is minor, compared to the devastation of loss of home, loss of life, loss of wildlife. Brush fires are natural, but this one is out of control.
My thoughts go out to all who are affected by the fires, and my admiration goes to the US Forest Service workers and firefighters. Climate change is real, and we’re seeing it in action.