Santa Barbara Particulars

The fire began last Tuesday
And busily through the week
Had been covering Santa Barbara
In an evanescent reek.

I get the impression, from the inciweb site — though they are careful not to say anything explicit — that the fire has been contained toward the cities and the east but is continuing to grow west and northwest. Which suggests that the danger to my house (always slim) has become slimmer

However the air I breath is full of ash still, and it sounds as though that will continue for the foreseeable future. It doesn’t fall abundantly, but very gently, very slowly. I test this by leaving my bike locked up outside, and then, when I return an hour or two later finding a faint speckling of white ash upon my black seat.

I haven’t run outside since the fourth. I’ve been doing my runs on a treadmill in a gym — hoping that the air inside has been somewhat filtered and so less hazardous. This morning I arrived only to discover I had left my running shorts at home by mistake. So I ran in my bathing suit (which I had taken, by mistake. The bathing suit and short being roughly the same colour).

It’s warmer, inside, with no breeze; so I sweat more, which means I have to take my glasses off, which means I can’t see much of anything. I can’t recognize people who greet me. Another disadvantage of inside running is the question of how to blow my nose. Outside I can snort onto the ground, but that is not a reasonable option inside. A stack of tissues doesn’t work well because they tend to flutter away in air currents and even if they did hang around, they become so drenched the moment they touch my sweaty face that they can’t effectively absorb more moisture.

The treadmills at my gym have little signs on them saying you can only use them for half an hour if others are waiting. So far, others have not been waiting. My shortest workout is 45min. More annoying the treadmill will turn itself off after an hour — you go from full speed to a full stop in just a few seconds. Finally some of the treadmills will go no faster than 6 minute miles. That’s 10k race pace for me — a speed I like to surpass from time to time.

Normally we do a speed workout on the San Marcos track… but that’s the Red Cross evacuation center. It might be rather crass to wake them up at 6am. I may need a fast treadmill tomorrow:-)

Yesterday afternoon the light was a watery brown, the sun veiled in smoke. Ash fell intermittently and lightly.

Today dawned all foggy. I hope that will give the fire a hard time. Yet the fog is probably low lying, and the fire above 1500ft so there may be bright sun for the fire.

Fog and smoke — a London Particular.


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