I once had a mighty crush on someone who built a house down south of here, in the mountains, with their neighbors and their hands and no small amount of local salvage. It was up off some logging road, and much like the stone soup of tiny houses. There was a wood-burning stove and a giant deck, where we’d sit out at night among the redwoods and look for satellites in a tiny patch of stars and sky. Someone had painted one side with a small and deftly-rendered tree consumed by flames, and when I asked if that was pushing their luck my friend simply said it was a talisman, a good-faith agreement with the forest that it would, in time, do its thing and they would enjoy this place as a respectful steward in the meantime. This concept of home from a native Californian has always stayed with me.
Photo of smoke from the Yolo County Fire, San Francisco, June 2018.