First Line Friday — Well, Almost

For this week’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday , Dylan Hughes gives us the first line of “One by one the lights of the city block winked out, the dark coming ever closer.

I was going to write a post today about a power outage we had last night, where block by block, the transformers that power our neighborhood blew as a result of an electric substation that apparently also blew. When I saw today’s first line, I thought I might adapt it to suit the post I was planning on writing anyway. In my semi-rural, suburban neighborhood, where we don’t have sidewalks, much less streetlights, I couldn’t exactly use “lights of the city block” in my response. So, as you’ll see below, I modified the first line a bit to fit the reality of what happened.

Last night, at around 8:20, the lights of the homes in our neighborhood winked out when, one by one, the transformers sitting atop telephone poles blew, casting our streets in total darkness. My wife saw a light flash outside of our kitchen window and then we heard a loud popping sound. I ran outside, where my neighbor, already in the street, was pointing to the transformer high atop the telephone pole across from my house. He told me it had just blown in a mini-explosion. And then I saw another transformer at the end of our block light up for an instant and heard another popping sound. My biggest fear was that if any sparks from the blown transformers hit the ground, they might trigger wildfires right in my neighborhood. Fortunately, I didn’t see any sparks, just smoke coming from the transformers and the unpleasant smell of seared electrical wires.

I took my dog out for a quick walk and the only light to be seen was from my headlamp and from the flashlights of my many neighbors out in the streets. I think that they, too, were worried about the threat of a fire as a result of the blown electric transformers and/or falling live wires.

This was the second power failure in our neighborhood in a week. I wrote in this post last week about the first power outage this season in our area. It was bad because it was 110° when the power went out and it lasted for four hours. With no air conditioning, it didn’t take long for our home to get uncomfortably hot. Fortunately, for last night’s outage, it wasn’t nearly as hot as it was the last time the power went out. It was in the low 60s last night.

The good news was that by around 10:20 last night the power came back on, so the outage this time was only about half as long, two hours, as the one we had last week. And, as I said, it wasn’t brutally hot this time.

Anyway, I hope, Dylan, I didn’t screw up your First Line Friday prompt this week too badly, but with power outages casting my street into a darkness that seems to be coming ever closer these days — both literally and, sadly, metaphorically — I’m using my privilege as a blogger to leverage your prompt in a slightly different manner.

Ashes, Ashes, All Fall Down

HeadlampWe live in a suburb about 35 miles east of San Francisco. There are no sidewalks or streetlights where we live, so when I walk our dog at night, I wear a headlamp similar to the one shown in the picture above. Otherwise, it would be pitch black outside.

Last night at around nine o’clock I took our dog out for a walk. When we stepped outside, I turned on my headlamp and was surprised to see what looked almost like tiny little snowflakes falling, which it obviously wasn’t because it was around 80 degrees at the time.

Using my keen deductive reasoning and intuitive skills, I concluded that what I saw reflected in my headlamp were tiny bits of floating ash from all of the wildfires ravaging Northern California. It was weird.

But this morning is even weirder. It’s just past ten in the morning and it’s like twilight outside. The sky has this eerie yellow/orange cast to it. I just took this photo while standing at my front door looking across the street.This photo is not altered. That’s what the sky looks like. And, of course, the air quality index shows hazardous air.

I think I’ll just go back to bed.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

I know you’ll be happy to hear that I will no longer be ranting (or whining) about that stupid, ill-conceived, barely usable on an iPhone Block editor that WordPress is trying to convince us is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Instead, I’m going to rant and whine about something else. Namely, the weather.For six days in a row, temperatures where I live were over 100 degrees. That’s nuts. Well, the good news is that today’s forecast calls for the high to reach only 94 degrees. Brrr. Better break out those winter jackets, folks.

But do you want to hear what else is crazy? Early Sunday morning, a freak and unusually severe thunderstorm hit. I say “freak” because thunderstorms at this time of year are rare around here. And also because there was thunder and lightning, but little to no rain. What this freak storm did do was trigger a series of wildfires all around the Bay Area due to lightning strikes.So now, even though temperatures are dipping into the mid nineties, the air quality has become “unhealthy as wildfire smoke pours into the sky.” It’s so bad that the views of the hills from my backyard are almost obliterated.Okay, my daily rant/whine is over. Have a good day.

Weekend Writing Prompt — Wildfires

406BCC28-B27B-44FE-A0D2-83DFF9C78FADSometimes they were due to a careless camper. At other times, they were started by sparks from power lines taken down by high winds. In either case, the wildfires during the dry season would ravage the countryside, threatening homes, farms, vineyards, and lives.

This wildfire season was no exception, and thousands of acres burned from the out-of-control fires. But then the unexpected happened and a very unseasonable downpour, the likes of which rarely came during the hot, dry summer months, doused the fires, saving countless acres from devastation.

(88 words)


Written for Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt.838D4F9E-B3E5-4A66-8F6D-ED18804A2BF6

Who Won The Week? 12/1/19

10CC3057-4EEA-4C80-B8C1-700C0FC6C906It’s time for another Who Won the Week prompt. The idea behind Who Won the Week is for you to select who you think “won” this past week. Your selection can be anyone or anything — politicians, celebrities, athletes, authors, bloggers, your friends or family members, books, movies, TV shows, businesses, organizations, whatever.

I will be posting this prompt on Sunday mornings (my time). If you want to participate, write your own post designating who you think won the week and why you think they deserve your nod. Then link back to this post and tag you post with FWWTW.

My pick for this week is Mother Nature.

The headline in today’s newspaper read, “Storm Sweeps in with Rain, Snow, and Gusty Winds.” Normally I would look at that headline and think it was bad news. But for those of us who live in Northern California, it’s just the opposite. The first significant rains in months in the region have extinguished most of the wildfires that have plagued the area, which had caused mass power outages and evacuation orders in many communities. The rains coming in this week should finish the job.

So Mother Nature was able to quickly accomplish what mere mortals were unable to do. And for that, those of us who have had to deal with these destructive wildfires are grateful.

But looking at the forecast, I’m wondering if Mother Nature May be going a bit overboard.816BA0E8-B1A2-4CAF-A62B-8DE26351A170Thanks for dousing the wildfires, Mother Nature, but how about giving it a rest now that the fires have been doused?

And now it’s your turn, folks. Who (or what) do you think won the week?