William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Fire’

Water, Clear and Cold

The celebration of rain is past. The wind has changed. A great part of the moisture has been reclaimed by the sky gods. The air is smoky again. But it is not as smoky as before, at least here at ground level. Instead, there is a high haze thick enough to keep the sunny fall days several degrees cooler than they would be. One can feel the smoke. The robins […]

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Naked in the Realm

The air was so fresh and clean yesterday, so perfectly scented with subtle fall fragrance, the edges of the clouds so beautifully crisp and defined, that one would think there had never been a fire in Oregon, or that nearby there are fires burning still. And now, borne by the southwest wind, rain approaches. In the afternoon I took out our tired old tomato plants; the cherry tomatoes, though, I […]

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Fire Line

The coming of autumn: the first yellow birch leaves, And a park bench that looks like an old upright piano, Which she plays quite naked, save for the wind in her hair And a bright necklace of newly sprouted mushrooms. She laughs: I’m only a painting! Yes. But I can’t help myself. I see it all here. Is there something special you’d like me to play? Anything. Anything. And then […]

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We All Know What It Is

A thunderstorm began yesterday evening at about eight, with faraway rumbles and flashes of lightning to the east, which gradually increased and grew nearer during the night, until about two-thirty this morning, when we were engulfed in a loud and steady display, the house windows pulsing with light. This lasted about an hour, but out of it came little rain. The smokiness persists. And here in the dark, with more […]

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Cold Beer on a Hot Day

This much I know: if we had a two- or three-story house, I would, with or without a stick-horse, be galloping up and down the stairs numerous times a day. As it is, having to stay inside due to the smoke, I take regular walks over the length and breadth of our dwelling for the exercise. It has become quite the meditation. In the mysterious atmosphere of family heirlooms and […]

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Contaminated Spirits

It’s well worth putting on a mask and spending a short time in the thick, hazardous smoke for the birds’ sake alone. As before, within minutes of refilling and refreshing the birdbath, I saw a robin vigorously splashing in the water. Even as I stood there with the hose, I heard him chirping not far above me in the birches. Found early in the first chapter of the January 1877 […]

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On the Precipice

Little by little, the ocean is breathing life into the valley. The air is still dangerous to breathe, but now it contains far more moisture, which is helping to slow the spread of the fires. Yesterday afternoon, there was a lot more bird and squirrel activity — the birds bathing, splashing, and scratching for seeds and worms, the squirrels with nuts in their mouths, scurrying along the fence tops. Humans […]

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A Feather on the Scale

We’re told this morning that more than 900,000 acres of Oregon’s forests have been burned or are in the process of burning. We’re also told that ten percent of the state’s population has been evacuated to safer areas. The valley we live in is dense with smoke. The air quality readings are well into and beyond what is deemed hazardous. Yesterday evening our youngest son brought us two air purifiers […]

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Idle

Another hour spent outside watering in the smoke, which is much thicker this morning than yesterday. The air, though, is noticeably cooler. The windy time has passed; I saw several spiders calmly working on their webs. I also heard the squawking of a scrub jay, and a brief exchange between nuthatches. A squirrel caught my eye; like an ordinary pedestrian, it was making its way along the sidewalk across the […]

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The Mind of the Multitude

It’s darker now, at one in the afternoon, than it is on the darkest of winter days. At six this morning I walked slowly to the second stop sign and back, the air smoky, everything coated with ash. The walk took, I would guess, about seven minutes. Then I watered the plants and gave some of them a bath. They depend on me. They are where they are because I […]

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