Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Natural Disasters

I finally developed some photographs that I took last fall that had fallen victim to my dirty drafting table and I was delighted to find some examples of California-style natural disasters involving our favorite nemeses: water and fire.

geyser

The Market St Geyser is an intermittent, unpredictable geyser. My west-coast horror of seeing water go to waste in the gutter was replaced with childish joy when I saw the source. The flume seemed to reach 100 feet into the air, well above the houses and trees. It was, by far, the most exciting thing that happened to the street since the police were here for the last Market House party. I stood and gaped until the intrepid waterman shut off the valve. He made about a dozen attempts before his gigantic wrench found its hold in the underground street valve. It made me think of the river gods from "Spirited Away." It was sad finally watching the flume shrink into a trickle.

dog in ojai

The Caballero and I visited some of his family in El Sud last fall. As soon as we left the southernmost border of Hose, he noticed a eerie orange glow over the horizon and announced that his hometown was "burning." I couldn't believe he could know that a town 300 miles away was on fire until I turned on the radio and it was the hot news of the day. As we approached, the sky lost its blue complexion, the sun turned red and it reminded me of the end of the world. We spent the weekend under the pall of the burning wilderness. We hung out in the empty downtowns. Fine white ash covered the streets with silence. Our lungs burned. The light was strangely orange, as if we were in a perpetual sunset. I took this photo of one of the neighbor's dogs, maintaining his post in spite of the fire.

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