Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Scenes from a natural disaster

San Diego is burning and we went to the beach.

It seemed a bit thoughtless and maybe irresponsible. But what would you do with four kids 90 degree weather and school canceled for a week? True we are supposed to keep the kids indoors to avoid the bad air. I probably would have but my brother is in town with his two kids and though they consider it serendipity that school's been canceled the week of their visit, they didn't really come to San Diego to sit indoors all day and play Scum. So yesterday after my brother's gentle cajoling, I agreed to go to the beach. We had heard the wind had shifted and that breezes were now coming off the ocean. The air at the beach wasn't as refreshing as we hoped but tolerable, definitely better than a smoggy winter day in Salt Lake. As for the possibility of being evacuated, our 72-hour kits were all packed and I gave my neighbor our cell phone number and told her to call us in the unlikely event of evacuation. Still the whole time I felt a bit like a truant. This may be why we had so much fun.

The tide was low and we had a great time wading and poking through tide pools. We saw crabs, limpets, sea snails, sea anemones and a starfish-- a starfish feasting on a mussel no less. I'm showing it to John and his cousin Nicolas. We also went swimming in a swim hole formed in the rocks at low tide. The water was a bit nippy but so clear that even with water to my shoulders I could see my toes in the sand. Schools of long silver fish swam with me. Mikaela, Lizzy, Zoey and John were also brave enough to plunge in the cold water. On a rock outcropping near us a dozen or so seals sunbathed.

So I'm glad I went to the beach. I don't know what else to do. The whole city--the part I live in--is this strange quiet. Everything has been canceled--soccer practice, church activities, yoga. We are all just waiting. At the beginning of the week, I was waiting for disaster. Now I'm waiting for normal. This morning I thought I'd get caught up on my laundry and then I heard them requesting on the radio that we conserve energy by not using air conditioning or doing laundry. So I decided it was my civic duty to not do laundry. I told Bill this and he pointed out that our dryer is gas powered.

Bill is always my reality check. Not only was school canceled for the girls but UCSD is closed as well and Bill's clinic was canceled. I think this would be a lovely time for him to just hang out with us. He said he needed to work anyway. I reminded him as I often do, of a snow day our freshman year in college when school was canceled and I called him up and invited him to play in the snow drifts with me and he said, "I have to study." The way I see it, there are only so few snow days in life and you must seize the day. But he says, "I got into Medical School didn't I." Bill may have a point. No other fellows showed up to clinic and there were quite a few patients in need of help. I suppose it is a good thing the world is full of Bills who go to work even when they don't have to. It may also be good that in the midst of disaster I take my kids to the beach.

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lettieb said...

I am glad to hear that you guys are safe and well and having fun despite the fires.

kim & co. said...

Glad you guys are ok--and I agree--6 kids stuck in the house for a week would be too much for me as well.

Michelle said...

Ah, this is my favorite entry in your blog yet. Beautiful writing!

TX Girl said...

I'm proud of your civic disobedience. I would be going stir crazy too with all the kids home from school and company.

I agree with you regarding Snow Days. But, I'm also glad there are people like Bill out there. He is ridiculously responsible.

Catherine M. said...

The beach is so totally right. I loved the writing too! What a bizarre week for you guys. Is it all normal yet?

kim & co. said...

Ruth--I can't find your email--we're coming down to SD this next weekend and I was hoping to see you guys! I sent an email to Isa and a couple others I had with details.