November 2018 (Paradise)
2018. Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 16 in.
Unlike for so many in the far-western states right now, our air here in the Joshua Tree area today is clear, the skies blue, the mountains in view – all swept clean by a wind from the north last night. The smoke from the El Dorado fire, which had made our air dark and thick the last few days, is now just visible on the horizon far to the west. I don’t expect this to last. But I’m grateful for it, and wish I could share it with so many around our states right now who are covered in smoke or running from fire, anxious at visions of the apocalypse.
The town of Paradise, California, has been evacuated again ahead of the North Complex fire in Butte County. In November two years ago, during those days of shock, horror, and grief over the terrible Camp Fire that killed 85 people in Paradise, I created this work. It was hard at that time not to feel a dread-filled presentiment about the future for all of us in California. I am so grateful to our state, local, regional, and, yes, federal agencies that plan year-round and work so hard fighting fires to keep us safe. The job gets tougher every season.