The ecosystem does its thing. Oh, some buildings burn, a handful, on the dry flora fringes of this concrete scab we call civilization. The nation freaks out, as if this is New Orleans. Do we gym-toned, suntanned "victims" look like we're bloated, floating on our backs in a flood of sewage? You can go back to your regularly scheduled programming. Leave us alone. We'll handle it. We have day laborers out here to push windblown eucalyptus leaves from the sidewalks and gutters and more quasi-documented slaves to detail the ashes off our cars. We're good. Half a million people evacuated doesn't mean they'll scatter far. It just means some temporary camp-outs in the living rooms of friends or family a couple miles down the road. Well-stocked schools and stadiums cover the rest, and no burning embers rain down upon them, just good will, particulate matter and smoke-filtered sunshine. In case you hadn't noticed, and you wouldn't, the real disasters are elsewhere: Darfur and Iraq, the Congo and the Yangzte, not to mention Washington. Yep. No real crisis would get so much attention.
[ the art of nature ]