These last few days have been surreal. We’ve been under a heat advisory since Thursday, the first day of autumn here in San Jose. Temperatures climbed into the high 90’s F (34C) and have remained high for five days. It’s been months since we’ve had any significant rain, leaving our state brown and dry as we face year five of the California drought.
Wildfires are always a concern this time of year, but the elevated temps and the drought-produced fuel created a tipping point. As I drove to my son’s school Monday afternoon I saw this:
My heart sank. These are the beloved Santa Cruz mountains, part of what surrounds San Jose, creating our iconic Silicon Valley.
When I got home, I checked in with friends that live “over the hill” and all were safe. Cal Fire crews descended on the steep terrain from around the state and we are obsessively checking for updates.
Two hours after the start of this fire, we sat down to watch the presidential debates. An estimated 800,000 viewers tuned in for the first of four televised presidential candidate debates. Between the fire, the heat and the bombastic Republican nominee spewing nonsensical pablum on the stage, I needed a break.
We turned off the TV and went for a walk around the block. Still out of sorts, we decided to go for a rare evening drive.
One of the most frightening aspects of wildfires is their unpredictability. They rage out of control, change directions without notice and leave damage in their wake. It’s a metaphor for the US presidential election, still an agonizing 40 days away. I’m desperate for it to be over, fearful of the possible outcome, and more than ready to see that bombastic blowhard lose.
This morning I received the following email alert:
[the fire] is now burning upwards of 1,500 acres. Three shelters have been opened for evacuated residents; Soquel HS in Santa Cruz, Morgan Hill Presbyterian Church, and The Jewish Community Center in Los Gatos are all receiving evacuees. San Jose Fire Department still has multiple units on scene including our SJFD PIO and Chief Officers. We are still on high alert for possible evacuations here on the San Jose side. As you know high temperatures and low fuel moisture along with difficult terrain make this fire particularly dangerous.
This is a good day to remind myself to practice self-care. I’m engaging my Tantra breathing, drinking lots of cool, fresh water and sticking to my meal plan.
How do you manage your stress, when things are out of your control?