Fire season is winding down, for now, but will be back soon enough and with it the loss of homes and business, the dirty air, the mortal danger. Leena Anqud says the new normal isn’t normal at all.
I have always wanted a snow day. Waking up to a chilled house, needing only a quick glance out the window to know that there wouldn’t be school that day. Math and English lessons would be replaced by snowball fights with the neighborhood kids. I am 17 and will never experience a snow day. It doesn’t snow where I live in California. When the weather causes my school to close, it’s because my state is on fire.
Instead of cold, I’ve felt uncomfortably hot. I’ve felt my eyes sting and my lungs fill with ash. I’ve felt the fear that everything I love could be diminished to dust by a strong gust of wind.
Lately, I’ve noticed a change in the way the people around me react to these disasters. My mother used to race around the house gathering anything of value to pack into a small satchel, ready to grab and go if things went wrong. She doesn’t do that anymore.
We’ve grown accustomed to the time of year coined “fire season,” and our fear has lessened.