Friday afternoon I drove up Highway 4, stopping to take pictures as I went, until I reached the Butte Fire as it approached the small town of Avery.
I stood on a ridge for a couple of hours watching the flames crest the next ridge and then move down the mountain in my direction. These moments were strangely beautiful and serene. The sun was a blood-red dot behind a veil of smoke, and the lighting was unearthly. Ash fell gently from the sky, seeming to condense from the clouds of smoke above, like smoke rain, and every sound seemed a low-quality recording of itself. I stood there contemplating many things, old things that I saw in a new light. The fire changed the light, the air, the world – and from this altered place I arrived at new understandings.
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