Which is no big deal. Indeed, it's rather exciting -- like a thunderstorm or <6.5 earthquake. It happens every few years, and in the past has always blown around and past us on its way to the coast. When I left the house for work Friday morning, it looked as if we were out of harm’s way, although I was a little worried about flaming embers coming from the north. But that’s what the fire department is for, right?
Picture a horseshoe with the round edge facing north. Our little neighborhood is inside the horseshoe, and is totally surrounded by open space. The Santa Ana winds blow in a northeast-to-southwest direction. So long as the firefighters make a stand to the north, then the fire comes down either side of the horseshoe, on its way to Malibu. No problem.
And again, rather exciting, especially at night. While they say it's dangerous, I've never felt unsafe in the past. Or maybe a little -- just enough to make it exhilarating. Makes you feel alive, is what it does.
But this time the fire decided to do something a little different. That is, when it was about halfway down the eastern flank of our horseshoe, the winds shifted and it suddenly blew in a westward direction -- or in other words, directly toward us. So the fire leveled seven houses that abut the open space. For reference, we're a few houses in from the open space; I'm not good at distances, but it's maybe the distance of a football field in a straight line.
I'm envious of my neighbors who stuck it out and didn't evacuate. Must have been an awesome spectacle. It reminds me of Churchill, who, when the bombs were falling during the Battle of Britain, would scramble onto the roof to watch the show. Again, it's simultaneously horrible and exciting, and you just have to accept the ambivalence. It doesn't mean you're a sadist, or that you enjoy the prospect of suffering.
Being an evacuee is pretty much a full-time job. Even if you're temporarily settled in someplace, you're worried about what's going to happen next. I didn't pack much, since I never imagined we'd be exiled for longer than a week, but I did toss a book into my briefcase on the way out: Schuon's Logic and Transcendence, which I've read many times, and is one of his best -- one of his few that is a unified work as opposed to a collection of disparate essays.
So I had time for a Very Close reading of this coonologically foundational text. I always get something new out of it. Either that or I'm getting old, so it seems new. Or maybe Principial Truth is by its nature "new." Yes, that's it. Compare it to, say, communion. I think to myself, "surely the priest must be bored after having done this thousands of times over the past 40 years." But he never looks like he's going through the motions.
Come to think of it, I do believe that "novelty" is a kind of essential reality; as is "renewal." How is it that I wake up in the morning and the world feels renewed and therefore novel? It's always the same-old same-old, and yet, new and different.
Part of it has to do with the nature of life, for what is Life itself but sameness-within-difference, or difference-within-sameness? I remember Rudolf Steiner writing about this. Let me see if I can dig it out.
Here it is: How to Know Higher Worlds (and who wouldn't want to know them?):
the moment will approach when we begin to realize that what is revealed to us in the silence of inner thinking activity is more real then the physical objects around us. We experience that life speaks in this world of thoughts....
Out of the silence something begins to speak to us. Previously we could hear speech only with our ears, but now words resound in our souls. An inner speech, an inner word, is disclosed to us.... Our outer world is suffused with an inner light. A second life begins for us. A divine, bliss-bestowing world streams through us.
Something like that. As the process continues,
We begin to form new ideas about reality. Things take on a different value for us. Yet such transformation does not make us unworldly. In no way does it estrange us from our daily responsibilities.
Speaking of which, I've got to get on with mine.