The Sun rises blood red on the third day of the fires. Since the burning began, it has always set and risen that way. The sunsets have been beautiful. If you could forget for a moment why they burn so bright.
We know now what set the forests aflame. A failure of basic maintenance and safety. They have made this same mistake before, many times. Each time, homes burned and people burned and they make the same hollow apologies without remorse, pay no penalty, and go on to kill again. Their petty bureaucratic tyranny brings death without recourse.
The Air Will Kill You Index has finally caught up with the Sun as ruined air rides South on the wind. “Unhealthy” is the euphemism, but we just call it Red. Avoid exerting yourself; do not run or hike. Shield yourself indoors unless your home has already burned to the ground because of negligence. Shareholder value exceeds the value of your home or lungs.
We should not venture out without masks but many do in defiance. They do not want to believe that the world is burning. Or perhaps they know the world burns, but do not wish to agree that their world may be affected. They come home sickened by the choking air. Ash falls like snow, beautiful if you can forget that it was homes and people just days ago. It settles grey and black on every lintel.
In this thick grey air, all far-off things are hazy and indistinct. All activity is local because nobody can walk too far safely. Pilgrims venture North loaded with supplies. They return with cars full of sorrow and regret which they have unloaded from the stricken areas.
The worst of it is knowing that ours is not the worst. While we take measured breaths of dilute ash and smoke, there are ruins in the East which are not permitted to rebuild because their colony lacks our status. Even the guardians and rescuers are not permitted to venture their because the new King is ashamed of them.
Our disaster of fire and air pales next to the destruction wrought by wind and water. Both kill, and it is hard to understand which is worse when one is closer. The strange perspective puzzle of chaos and mayhem confuses our vision. The news holds an even stranger parallax; more fun-house-mirror than lens.
Incomprehensible. We step away from failing to understand the destruction everywhere and carry on as usual. But with masks and dust and smoke and ash. The sun will set red again today. Who knows when it will be yellow again.