August 20, 2020:

Evacuation. Although the fire is on the far side of a tall ridge, its ash is full of toxins from destroyed homes. All that asbestos and thermoplastic and fiberglass, reduced to motes. Step outside, the eyes sting; even inside the smell of smoke intrudes. I am quite certain the house will not burn, but I think defying the evacuation order is unwise.

Finding a place to go turns out fraught. Hotels and motels in Santa Cruz and Los Gatos and Saratoga are all full, doubtless with refugees as it's unlikely there's much incidental travel in the Year of Covid. Which presents its own problem. I don't want a hotel, with re-circulated air and a hundred unmasked children. I want a cottage, socially distanced, reasonably safe.

My first choice is a fraud. They advertise a cottage but it's an ordinary upstairs motel room over garages, sharing walls and air conditioning with four other units. One night in Pacific Grove and out.

The next contestant is better. Many of the adults are unmasked but at least the cottage is isolated from adjoining walls. And it's cute. A little bathtub inside with a little fenced-in patio outside, near the dunes at Asilomar. I have salmon delivered from a favorite PG restaurant where I once upon a time regularly met a good friend for lunch. Settling in for the duration.