The minions are hanging in there, although Dirty August is about to turn into Snaptember. A building boom ensues, with a saw bench and crash rescue box being constructed. T. builds a contemplation bench for the arboretum. With so many of us here due to the extreme fire danger, our garden gets unprecedented attention, and I wander around eating cherry tomatoes off the plants. The clerks at the local store look bemused as we buy ice cream, chips, and chocolate. We eat these things until someone declares that they want a salad, kicking off a round of healthy eating.
At fire camp, C. is bitten by a skunk as he compassionately takes a beer can off its head; he begins a series of rabies shots. A new t-shirt design is conceptualized, puzzlingly involving a pterodactyl. T. gets in some saw practice, learning the keyhole cut. J. attempts to plan winter travel, but gets stymied by how many countries there are in Central and South America: he wants to see them all. We are able to exercise a little; there is bear scat on the running trails.
It stays hot and dry. New fires start. Old ones roar back to life, causing evacuations and residents to grumble about air quality. We do the best we can, but we have had almost no rain since June and resources are limited. Still, it always ends. Flying along the lake, I see a single yellow larch tree. It's an outlier: its neighbors' needles won't turn for weeks yet. But they will.
So we work, while other people hike and float around in boats. We don't complain, because it's what we signed up for. For some of us, it's just what we know, while the new people are still trying to figure out if it's what they want. Fall is around the corner, but for now we are here, flying and hiking these hills, following the smoke.