Last night all but one local station switched to their regular primetime programming, the first of many signs that we're entering the next phase of a natural disaster. There's definitely a comfort to again falling asleep, in my own bed, to Law & Order. Almost all of the areas that were evacuated in the first wave are now safe to reenter, including ours. Employers like mine are asking people to come back to work if they can, with the caveat that power and air quality remain tenuous for the time being.
I suppose Run DMZ needs to start moving in that direction too.
One of the bright spots has been hearing from so many of you. Every time I checked my e-mail or comments, there was a surprise -- a nice surprise from someone who cared enough to contact me with encouragement and gratitude. And I got calls from a lot of family and friends, some of whom I hadn't heard from in years. I did watch an hour of CNN yesterday and I got what everyone was saying about the contrast in coverage. We here at ground zero will worry about the politics later; for now, we're still very much focused on the people with no place to go. Fundraisers and telathons have begun, and each one of us will give something of ourselves. It's what we do, and I'm sure it's the same where you live too.
The running community's now trying to figure out when it's safe to go back out. Yesterday, during my little sneak peak on the banned side of town, I saw two people running and they didn't look dedicated, they looked foolish. Maybe they figured nobody would give them a hard time if they ran in an evacuated area. I was only out for a short time, and I coughed all afternoon. Can't imagine what those people were thinking - or hacking up thereafter.
The air's much clearer, but it's apparently still not very clean. A track club member sent us a link to check on the air quality, which at the moment is not promising for those used to greeting the day with a little outdoors sweat. But each of us is waking today to the kind of clarity that the noise of normal life obscures. Wildfires clear out old brush that do more damage than good, and allow newer, hardier life to emerge from the charred ruins. I can already feel the change in me.