• Maggie Levine

ArtWrite 9/10: Fred Fowler

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

Fred Fowler’s recent series “This Is Water” was done after the bushfires last summer in Australia.

Yesterday my husband showed me a photo of San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, the sky behind it glowing like the inside of a Jack-o-Lantern. The image was surreal, almost cinematic, like the burning of Atlanta in “Gone with the Wind.”

We live in LA. The distance between us and the Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest is less than 50 miles. Far enough for me to put it out of my mind until this morning when I went out to walk my dog and smelled it.  Not so thick or noxious that it made my eyes smart, more like a diluted version. Imitation smoke.

Now, it’s late afternoon, the time when I’m usually grateful for the shade of our trellis in our west-facing backyard. The blue of the pool seems muted, and there’s no angle of sun beating down on the farm table. I walk around to the front of the house. The sky is not itself. Undefined and cloudless, an expanse of something that isn't really white but is too milky to be called yellow.  

The fires plus the constant shit show of news.  I don’t know where to put it all, so I focus on what is closest to me:the kids down the block, the ones I’ve seen for the past few months, dutifully wearing masks as they scoot up and down the unthreatening slope at the top of our street.  

So grateful that my children are grown. I would be out of explanations by now.

-- Maggie Levine



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