A far-reaching cloud of smoke

I’ve spent very little time around Lake Tahoe, despite it being an easy drive (at least in fair weather) from where I live. This past weekend, my husband and I visited the area. It’s a beautiful place, but reminders of California’s raging fires were never very far away.

The far banks of Tahoe, veiled in smoke

As the temperatures warmed up each day, smoke dropped in, obscuring the far banks of the lake, and, several afternoons, filling the air with at least a hint of that too-familiar acrid smell. Continue reading

Red sky at morning

The sun rose red this morning, filtering through dense smoke from wildfires burning across California. My area is safe (so far), but the sky is thicker with smoke today than I have experienced before.

The sky this morning, thick with smoke, turned the sun an eerie color.

Just after sunrise, I ventured out briefly to walk the dog. We walked down to a county park, and as I watched the sun rise, I was struck (again) by all the dry brush surrounding me. This is the stuff of nightmares.

The sun rises over dangerously dry brush.

For too many across California, the nightmare is real. The latest numbers of staggering.

  • Major fires across the state: 22
  • Acres burned: 170,000
  • Homes and businesses destroyed: 3,500 so far
  • Lives lost: at least 21, with hundreds more missing (and that’s just the human toll)

There are ways you can help, no matter where you live. I’ll remind you of my favorites:

  • UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief). The link I’ve provided goes directly to UMCOR’s US Disaster Response Fund, Advance #901670, 100% of which goes to victims of these wildfires and recent hurricanes. You may also want to follow their updates on Facebook.
  • The Red Cross (there’s a drop-down menu where you can select where you want your money to go).

Runners helping runners
I’m part of a virtual running community through Oiselle. This morning, Devon Yanko, one of Oiselle’s elite runners in Northern California sent out this message to those of us who live here. She kindly allowed me to share her message with you, too:

Team!

As you know fires are ravaging Northern California and so many people have lost everything. Like you, I feel like I want to do more for the victims of the fires. I know that in the hardest time running has always been an outlet, a way of processing, a way through. I also know that for people who have lost everything, replacing running clothes is not a priority. That is why I am calling for donations of new or used RUNNING clothes that can be taken directly to runners in need. I know that I always have a few more running clothes than I need and thought maybe you guys might too.

If you have running clothes you are willing to donate please mail or drop them off to our friends at San Francisco Running Company: 115 Tunstead Ave, San Anselmo, CA 94960. If you are mailing them, please indicate they are c/o Napa/Sonoma runner fire relief.

If you or someone you know is a victim of one of these disasters, please email me so that I can get your sizes and get you some clothing!

All my best,
Devon

Runners—I know you can’t all make it out to San Francisco to drop off donations, but maybe there are a few things you could mail to San Francisco Running Company? That pair of shoes you wore a couple of times but stopped using because they didn’t feel quite right. Those socks your aunt gave you that aren’t the right size. The race shirts you never wear because you have so many others. The impulse buy at the race expo now just taking up space in your dresser.

Please pray, too
As a country, we’ve had a lot too much to pray about of late. But would you please add California into your prayers? Please pray for the winds to die down. Please pray for rain. Please pray for the evacuees. Please pray for those who have lost everything. And please, please pray for the heroes fighting these fires and trying to protect us.

One nation, under the Gun

Here we are again. Dark days. A nation in mourning. In shock. A nation praying and lighting candles. A nation divided.

One nation, under the Gun.

How many candles will we light while we remain under the Gun?

Continue reading

A bouquet of Aloha

I’m traveling today but wanted to share some Hawaiian flowers (and other vegetation with you). I hope this virtual bouquet brightens your day. Continue reading

Fabulous Hawaiian fauna (mostly birds)

Did you know that of all the states in the US, Hawaii has experienced the most species loss? That’s probably no surprise, given the exotic/endangered/rare flora and fauna that only lives there.

Today, I’d like to share some of my favorite animal pictures from my recent trip to Hawaii. They’re mostly of birds: some you’re accustomed to seeing in the continental US, and others you may not see anywhere else in the world.

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii and want to see amazing birds, check out the Hawaii Audubon Society website for tips on where to visit for the best bird views on each island. On Maui, the majority of our bird sightings happened at the Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, and its Keālia Coastal Boardwalk. On Kauai, the lighthouse at Kilauea is a must-see area for an amazing array of birds. Even in cases where I haven’t identified the bird, I will identify which island.

The not-so-humble rooster is ubiquitous on roadsides (and pretty much every else) in Kauai.

While you might be tempted to think the rooster is the official bird of Kauai given the fact that roosters are everywhere there, the state bird is the endangered Nene goose: Continue reading