Well, our fire evacuation orders are lifted, we are unpacked and settling in to Part Two of 2020's "Apocalypse: September Edition." Part One was fire, and Part Two consists of air you can taste, smell and even grab handfuls of should you be brave enough to venture outside. It's thicker than Labor Day barbecue sauce, with the same smoky flavor.
But of course I'm just grateful to have a house to come home to, after these fires. And really, saying we've come home is misleading, because we never left. Not even for milk or gluten-free crackers. We were that afraid that the fire might start moving again and we'd be locked out of our neighborhood, and we have pets and livestock to think of. So we stayed put and prayed. We were lucky this time; everything that belongs to us or is loved by us was spared. Many were not so lucky.
This year ... am I right? Just when you think you've gotten a handle on things, it throws you a wicked curveball in the shape of a conflagration fire, a hurricane, or a sharknado or two. We're just missing an earthquake to really wrap up the year properly, but we still have three months to go so don't lose hope yet.
In the next century, anthropologists, historians and other scholars will spend entire careers studying this year's history and its impacts. There will probably be entire university departments of 2020 Studies. Professors will ask each other upon meeting, "So, which quarter do you specialize in?"
Really, I wonder how most of us will look back on this year. For those of us 50 and above, it will hold little storytelling value, as almost everyone we know will have lived through it. But for those young people, say 30 and under, they will be the ones who tell the story of 2020 to their kids and grandkids, all of whom will have the good fortune of being too young to remember it. They will also (if they're old enough) be able to tell the story of 9/11, the Great Recession, Hurricane Katrina, and the tsunami that devastated the areas around Indonesia. That's a lot of disaster to have witnessed in to just 20 years. No wonder Millennials are a different sort, who value entrepreneurship above all. Gotta rely on yourself, because who knows what will happen with the rest of the world tomorrow. I get it.
Anyway, life marches on -- for us personally as well. My stepson got married on Saturday, so there was a Zoom occasion to celebrate. We came off evacuation status that same afternoon, so there was good news all around that day. And despite the smoke, I've still been able to can eight quarts of tomatoes. So life goes on, just in it's own weird 2020 way. Thanksgiving and Christmas should be interesting, filled with colorful holiday face masks and offbeat, roundabout travel itineraries, as people roadtrip it to grandma's house via car or maybe train. No holiday concerts or performances of The Nutcracker, but still plenty of eggnog to be spiked and prime rib to be roasted.
Pretty soon our blue skies should return, too, hopefully not too late to silhouette all the autumn leaves on the trees. And until then, just remember we are almost 3/4ths of the way through this long, strange year. Hoping 2020 ends with a whimper instead of a bang but let's face it, we'd better not count on anything at this point. Stay sharp and be on the watch for sharknadoes on the horizon.