Flower Friday : : Bird of Paradise

It isn't really paradise here today. The air quality is something like 235 parts per whatever when 100 is considered unhealthy. The schools were closed today and there are very few people about. In fact, it is eerily quiet. All this is because of a fire burning out of control a hundred miles to the north of us.

These streletzias growing in front of the house seem to be thriving despite it all,  I have noticed some that have grown so tall that they seem to be peering in the bathroom window which is quite high. Maybe they've had enough and want to come in. I've put a picture of them taken from inside through the bathroom screen in extras. I chose this picture because the piece of white paper that I put behind it reflects the color and almost palpable nature of the atmosphere. 

I spoke with Matthew last night because he works in Thousand Oaks where the latest mass killing to grab the nation's fleeting attention span  took place. A bunch of college students and a police officer were killed by an ex soldier with PTSD. Apparently the officer shielded some of the students from gunshots. These are no longer isolated incidents. They have become an epidemic in this country and I don't see how anybody with a conscience  (or even a beating heart) can continue to oppose gun control.

Today Matt told me he couldn't go to work today because Thousand Oaks and many other places are either on fire or threatened by fire and many freeways are closed. They have friends staying with them who have been evacuated from their town. They have three children and two dogs. He is a firefighter and is off fighting fires while their own home is threatened.

The confluence of these two events just illustrates how badly we have lost our collective moral compass. I am both angry and depressed when I look out the window and see the red sun, the murky, unbreathable air. We let this happen, while those in Washington and elsewhere insisted that there is no such thing as climate change. California is slightly more enlightened than some states in this respect, yet our governor has famously said that uncontrollable firestorms are the new normal here. 

Just how is outlawing automatic weapons abrogating our personal freedom? As if being afraid to go to a bar or a yoga class, school or a synagogue is not infringing on my personal freedom? I feel both helpless and furious when I look back on the past two years, the demonstrations, the letter writing and telephone campaigns, the rage and the worry and see the futility of it all reflected in the red sun and the unbreathable air and think of yet another community mourning its dead. 

I know I am not alone when I say I just don't know what to do....

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