The past couple days we were threatened with more lightning storms which would have resulted in more fires. Last night, I stayed up all night tracking them, ready to evacuate if need be. We made it through, and the Red Flag Warning was canceled before it reached its end. A true weight was lifted, even though the current fires still burn.
Not having air conditioning, to help combat the heat during the middle of the day, I attempt to block the sunlight with old tablecloths hung over the existing curtains and blinds. One of these is a large red and white checked tablecloth passed onto me by my grandmother. It has holes and stains, but I hang on to it and like to use it for picnics at the beach or in the grass.
My grandmother lived in the Bay Area during the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 and the Oakland Firestorm of 1991. She was a huge collector of breakable objects and had a house full of flammable solvents for her hobby of refinishing furniture. During the earthquake, only one tiny wicker basket fell off the wall. During the fire, she was hosting a small gathering of friends. Flames quickly engulfed houses below and above hers, simply skipping over her home. I like to think in both instances she was extremely lucky.
As the light shines through the red and white checked fabric in my kitchen window, I thank her for the luck she passed on. As night returns and the air cools, I remove this symbol of her good fortune, folding it up for another day. My grandmother found something special in this golden state, and that was undeniably passed down to me. Wherever I hang my hat, a big piece of my heart is always here.