Yesterday morning, the sun looked like this as I set for work at seven. If it weren't that the glow is caused by smoke, it would look like a haiku. Maybe it looks like a haiku anyway.
Upwind of the fire, to the north-east, the cities and communities have ash sifting down and the air is so smoke-filled that people are being told to stay indoors.
Here, although we're only 40 miles away, the fire is moving away from us, so (physically, at any rate) we're only minimally affected. The smoke is layered overhead, but it's high and diffuse.
Heading down Highway 4, the contrast between the sunlit valley below and the blanket of grey above would have been beautiful if it were clouds or fog...but not smoke.
This afternoon, towards evening, Bruce and I had a bit of an adrenaline rush. We were working in the orchard when he noticed a spotter plane buzzing back and forth above the hills behind us. We couldn't see any smoke, but we (with Murphy in the backseat) drove off to see if there was another nearby fire. There wasn't. I have no idea why the plane was circling, but am just glad that it was a false alarm.
Before heading home, we drove up to Gopher Ridge to take a look at the Rim Fire from there. Bruce took some better pictures with his big camera, but here is what I snapped.
Words continue to fail me every time I see how incredibly big it is. And how devastating. News reports say that it's probable that the flames won't be completely out for at least two months.
Many years ago I wrote a poem about the view of the Sierras from this very spot. I don't remember much of it, but one line described the mountains waltzing across the expanse that separated us. I know this was a rather clichéd image, but that doesn't matter -- I always loved my mental image of the Sierras dancing off into the distance.
This is going to be a sorrow for a very long time.