Maya del Mar's Daykeeper Journal: Astrology, Consciousness and Transformation


Remembering, with Thanks

by Susan Pomeroy

[This is a piece of pure fiction begun in August, long before the fires that recently ravaged Southern California. Although Daykeeper hasn't featured fiction before, given our global and environmental concerns, it seems appropriate to run this piece now. The story is written in installments, which we'll publish regularly. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.]

In the California of my childhood, October was a golden month. The grassy hills, mellowed into a deep tan, were burnished with a flaxen glow. Days were shorter than in summer, and more poignant. I remember cool mornings sluiced with pale gray fog. Bright golden days. Evenings, when the fog, now amethyst and peach in the glow of the setting sun, flowed back again over the western ridges from the sea.

FireThis October was different. It was the year I realized that the California of my childhood would never return. The days were shorter, but not cooler. The golden hills hadn't been washed with an artist's careful brush—instead, some had burned black, and others were a dark, tattered brown, with spikes of dry grasses a worn and patchy stubble over gray-brown dust.

Our town didn't look much better. No lawns or ornamental plants survived; that was nothing new. We'd been on summer water rationing for years. What was new was the grayish film of dust and ash that covered everything, the lack of traffic on the roads and highways, and the barely veiled panic in people's eyes.

The 15th was a Wednesday. The power was on that morning. The kids were in school; Josh was at the firehouse, on shift. My friend Judy and I sat in our den, watching CNN.

"Northern California evacuation ordered..." It wasn't a voice, just a crawling announcement at the bottom of the screen that neither one of us had seen completely. We looked at each other, looked back at the screen. But nothing more appeared. No more words. No one saying anything about it.

At the same moment my phone rang, and Judy's cell buzzed. I picked up the phone, and heard the distant blare of a loudspeaker outside as I raised the handset to my ear.The voice in my ear was Joshua's, urgent and low.

"Get to the school and pick up the kids. Pick up the kids, Sarah, right now. If they stop you, tell them you're going to pick up your mother across town. Make something up. Sarah, right now, get in the car and go get the kids. Don't say anything to anyone, not even Raymie. I'll call you back. I have to go."

How can I describe my feelings in a moment like that? One minute, Judy and I were sipping tea and sitting on the couch watching TV. We were worried, stressed—but all the outlines of our normal lives were still in place. Blurred, perhaps, but still there. We had our homes, husbands, kids. Our jobs, our cars. Stores had food on their shelves and we had cash to pay for it. Sure, we were hot all the time, and our floors and bodies and furniture were dusty with grit and ash. We were worried about water, and about winter, if there even was going to be one, and about people dying in the heat. Our power was like as not to be off, not on—"like a Third World country," Judy had said, and we'd both laughed, seeing challenge, not tragedy.

Now, with Joshua's terse instructions still ringing in my ears, I could see out the front window a cavalcade of cop cars with flashers blaring red and blue on the highway across the valley. My body felt suddenly frozen. Shaking, and frozen.

"I've got to go," said Judy. "That was Mike. He says they're making everyone evacuate, right now, today."

To be continued...