Thursday, June 17, 2004


I spent the past half-hour up on my roof.

As I drove up Benson towards home this afternoon, I saw a plume of black smoke rising from the direction of my neighborhood. I was too far to the north to be on my street, so I doglegged, and found a house burning on the next major street north of my house. I drove past it quickly (there was other traffic), but I got a quick look.

It was an abandoned dwelling, little more than a cottage, its windows planked over by plywood. The fire was in the back, which meant I could still see the front, framed against the darkness and the flames. A neighbor dodged across the street in front of my car. His wife was standing on the other side of the road, garden hose in one hand, cell phone in the other. I drove past, and noticed that the fire had already spread - a burning ash had set a secondary fire in the vacant lot next door.

I looped back around to my house, pulling over for the Kent fire vehicles barreling the other direction. I got out and smelled smoke - the smell of insulation and dead dreams. I walked around to the back, and pieces of ash the size of maple leaves drifted down into the backyard. I was downwind of the fire. I looked up at the roof, which has a low slope and is hard to see from the ground. I thought of the smoke rising from the vacant lot.

So I took the morning newspaper, as yet unread, and went up to the roof. I couldn't see the building - too many trees as well as a school and a new development between me and it, and as the sirens got louder the pillar of smoke went away. An emergency chopper, red and white, whirled overhead in long loops.

After about a half hour, I came back down. Checked on Emily (she has another virus, and is moving very slowly again - we have her on antibiotics). And wrote this.

So how was your day?

More later,