Thursday morning, 7:25, October 1:  Smoke and heat and fire are creeping across the valley floor and in the mountains of upper Napa Valley and Sonoma, again.  I am visualizing fighting fire while affirming  “I am unafraid of the elements.”  As I work the yoke of a new design, mechanically knitting as if to dowse the worry in my brain, which is afire with catastrophic scenarios, one by one, and stitch by stitch as (in my mind) I hose off the embers as they land.

Unsure where at the castle this is, but I suspect the same carriage house where my nieces and I photograph often.
My camera is packed, as is most of my craft stuff. But all the same, while I try my hardest to ignore the possibility that the fire very well might sweep through at any hour, from a new malignant spark. We are vigilant.

Friday morning, 6:15, October 2: September into November  is the crisis time for fire in California mountains, unless we get lucky and rain comes earlier, which it hasn’t for as long as I remember. Cant go for a walk without breathing in smoke. We have got to think about this trend worsening, every dry season, everywhere !  We. Have. Got. To. Think.  The new soldiers are those who fight the elements, namely fire, in the war on climate change. Never enough fire personnel for these wild places on the map. Its my opinion that we need to teach our strapping strong unafraid youths to fight the elements . . . fire, flood, pandemic, rampant & rogue Perfect Storms of every kind, not governments.

Of course, all this fire in Napa Valley is wrecking so much of this year’s late harvest of many of the vineyards and wineries.  We are in a withered place.

Edited in updates for remainder of Glass Fire added below.

Saturday morning, 7:50, October 3: So far we are okay and as of this morning the Glass Fire is now 10% contained, and not approaching in our direction as yet.  I thought I should post an update more often through this local fire ordeal, so I don’t leave anybody hanging in unnecessary worry. I am still working my mindfulness of the moment, affirming “I am unafraid of the elements”. Its just that some elements are more soothing than others right now, and I am needing to listen to the healing bliss that  is the sound of rain . Thank you All for your thoughts and prayers, for us here in Napa Valley, and I will share them gladly with the rest of the world, but especially for those who have lost their homes in the recent fires, and my prayers are joined in.

Sunday Noon, October 4: Glass Fire is 17% contained now. The wind has blown the smoke and the live edge of the fire to the north-east, at the base of Mt St Helena in Calistoga. Clear here for now, and as the threat of burning recedes and dwindes, we relax a little. Still not unpacking, but really looking forward to rain forecast next week, and cooler temperatures with it!

Monday 6 a.m, October 5: Glass fire is now 26% contained which is a very good safety measure, especially because winds are settled and temperature is cooling a little, with forecast rain this weekend. At this point, I’m confident I can unpack the car, and get back to life without so much adrenaline stirring up the PTS. Probably the last update I’ll make for the Glass fire, and if people are still curious, or have questions, please just write a little comment and I’m ready to reply right away. xx

Thursday 6:30 am October 8: Glass fire 62% contained and no longer a threat as the weather is cooling and no high winds are forecast before it should be completely out. Evacuation orders continue to downgrade and lift throughout the valley. Over the last few days I have unpacked and put everything away, looking forward to the forecast rain later this week. What a week. I’m exhausted.

27 thoughts on “withered

  1. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Jenn, and all the people along the west coast being affected by these terrible fires. We can only hope that it is not too late to fight climate change….and that somehow we will be up to the fight.

    • Thank you Wendy! So far, just smoky here, but indoors getting knitting done, making trips back and forth to the car, where my knitting stuff is stored for now. xx

    • I am hopeful, the fire is so far beginning to be contained. As a long-time follower of this blog Sviewave, I want to tell you not to worry, that this restless spilling out my worries from time to time, is good to do to keep it personal and real, but I do want to say that our new home is made of concrete siding on the outside and a sprinkler system on the inside, and we have really done a lot of cutting back of (most of) the dead/dying trees from the wildfire three years ago. I’m hopeful. I think if we make it till the rains, we are going to try to rethink things a lot, and unfortunately cut so many more of the weakened trees out of the dense thick of woods around us. We are still moving in it seems, but the work outside is most important. So much work, and we are not young. But we are not old either, so going season to season, and hoping for the best while we work hard. I wish you and yours a beautiful transitory season! xx

    • Kelly! We’re going to be okay I think, and this is the second major scare this fire season. You too have to brace yourself for the Elements, with rain and wind and horrendous situations of Scotland’s wrath. So here’s to thinking of you back, and wishing you could send us that rain. 🙂 xx

  2. You’ve got this. Hang in there. Keep knitting.
    I wish our strapping youth would tackle our Governments (those fat old men in suits for the most part). We need ideological shifts and the young have the strength and ideology to embrace the risks involved in trying to pull us back from this.
    Praying for rain!!!!!
    Much love Jen

  3. Hi, Jen all the time I see the news about the fires in California I always think of you and hope that everything with you is ok and as I read this right now my heart is pounding because I can’t imagine going through this again I know I have PTSD after hurricane Maria hitting us and every time there’s one around us and get over worried, so I hope and pray for your safety and that you are well been busy knitting and coping with all the situations this could bring. Take care

    • Iris my dear! How is Puerto Rico doing, yet restored from three years ago in Maria’s devastation? You and I both, we will witness change in our lifetimes (hopefully very soon it will begin!) and these frightful out-of-control times will be a glimmer we can tell stories to great grandchildren!
      We are okay, the wind still has been in our favor, and no fresh fires dumped on our mountain, but I’m afraid to jinx it all by saying so. So far, just waiting ready to go into action. I think about you and feel bad that I was the last one to not reply, during those worst days of depression around summer of 2018 living in tiny house? Anyway, things are much better, as you take a read from time to time on my blog I know you are informed about the good that is going on. Thank you for saying hello, and I very much hope you’ll speak up more often. Love to you and your family, and craft like your life depends on it , the mental health elixir ! xx

      • Hi, Jen please don’t worry about not replying I totally understand been there done that jaja, I read your blog all the time so that’s why I know how you are but to lazy to write a comment, shame on me. PR is slowly recovering 2020 started with earthquakes that stepped us back and then the pandemic but is like every part of the world. I promise I will say hi and tell you how much I love your work, your last sweater is stunning, not knitting much because of the pain in my elbow but quilting like crazy and after 20 years not cross stitching I picked it up again and I’m enjoying it very much I forgot how relaxing it is. Just read your update and I hope everything keeps doing well. Love to you and the family, your nieces are prettier and prettier every time I see them. Take Care

        • Oh Iris, I am lame one to follow the world news, I didn’t know about the earthquakes in Puerto Rico . . . the wrath of the planet is one thing but horrible federal support is another thing all together. To better times in 2021! I thank you so much for following my blog, and if you do comment, we can catch up this way at least, right? 🙂 (( we have each others’ email too)) I am so glad that you can quilt regardless of your elbow pain, and your paper-pieced quilts are beautiful I am sure. I’d love to see photos! Definitely you’ll be swaddling your grand and great grand children in them with stories of bygone hardships of the turn of the 21st century. I did not catch before in our chats that you are cross stitching, that is great, it seems to be in a complete renaissance, and admittedly I love the old sampler style of cross-stitching and I plan to keep up when time permits. Lets let the needles fly! Love to you and your family , and hoping with all my heart you stay happy & healthy xx

  4. Oh Jen, my dear! My thoughts and prayers are also with you both! I am so sorry for you having again so mental stressful times.
    Hugs and kisses xoxo

    (Sorry I am not so attentive and reponsing so late , because i am so occupied by my works)

    • Hello Petra my dear! I am glad you found the recent updates here, for I decided instead just to edit on the saga as it goes. However , the fire seems to be 17% contained now and remains to be burning only at the upper part of the valley on the east side , nowhere near us. Jeff and I are ready to unpack, but don’t want to jinx things , so we’ll wait until the fire is a little more contained. Blue sky today, air is clear, wind has blown the smoke the other way, and…. we are forecast to have lower temperatures and rain next weekend!!!
      I hope your work and studies are something that fulfills you, although I know you are weary of studying, won’t you get a vacation soon? xx

      • Jen we do had so lovely autumn weather here. A bit sun and blue sky, a bit wind (to make the acorns rain down – lovely sound, so special autumny sound) and of course a bit of rain. You would have loved that! even though it was warm enough yesterday, to sit in a friends garden until 8.30 pm only with a knitted wooly cardigan. My brother in the south of germany, near Lake Constance went strawberry picking! Crazy times.

        I am so glad you are able to enjoy blue sky to fill up with good emotions and look forward in a stabilized mood.
        (you remembered well: my yearly Denmark vacation is at the end of November! Hurray!)

        • I can not imagine how bracing and cold it will be on the seaside in Denmark at the end of November. Be unafraid of the elements Chen-chen!
          Yummy strawberry gathering, acorn showers, and hopefully good cooking as you do so passionately. I have a focaccia to bake soon, to use up the whey from my last yogurt batch. Sigh, with all my valuable things in the car the Loft looks pleasingly sparse, which tickles my creativity. I think almost empty shelves are a most inviting thing. The urge to fill…. itself is creativity at work.
          Nesting. We are nesters. I would love to hear more about your Danish vacation, will you be fetching knitting goods from your favorite yarn shops? xx

  5. You’ve been on my mind as I follow the fires. My college bff lives in Marin county, so I’ve been checking in with her regularly via text. Glad all is okay with you.

  6. Hi Jenn, this is Debbie — your knitting/spinning friend from over the mountain. We too have been packed up and diligently watching every piece of news and social media to keep up on the fire. My husband listens to his fire scanner constantly. Needless to say, that 24 seven watch is wearing thin on both of us but him especially. When will it all end,? Will we be doing this again here in a week, a month, or year? It’s becoming harder and harder each time. So as you see, I can feel your pain and worry. We have not lost a home, like you have sadly, but were evacuated for nine days in 2017. So I guess it’s time to put on my big girl pants, unpack the car and suitcase, and try to get back to a normal life and not worry too much. Thinking of you. Hope we can see each other again someday, sometime, post-Covid, if that ever changes. Boy, it’s all getting old. Love and hugs to you

    • Debbie, aww, my wildfire neighbor. It is becoming harder every year, and the older we get the harder still. Yes, lets unpack and get back into normality. I am just now starting to unpack the car; bringing in the garbage bags full of clothes and loose things, as well as various packed Longaberger baskets, which I accumulated quite a number of. My spinning wheel is still in the car . . . and well, the really important things that got carefully packed in plastic bins when the Lightening complex fires were raging in August, and never unpacked, but stood ready to deport at a moments notice. The house is covered in a thick coat of ash too, is yours? I am too tired to clean. Just want to see some rain. Yes, lets get together and spin again in 2021!!! That would be SO GREAT! Hugs to you and take it easy on yourself Deb. xx

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