Tonight I went out in the cold rain to return a movie to the video store, and I thought about how it would be to have no place to sleep tonight. It’s so cold and wet. I was thinking about walking around with only an umbrella, and maybe a blanket, thinking maybe that would be enough to keep one protected until the daylight comes again in, oh about nine hours. Thinking maybe if you just kept walking you’d somehow be okay, but knowing that at some point you’d have to stop somewhere.
This led me to the memory of a night in 1970 when my husband and I had to find a place to sleep. Look at this photo and imagine the sky black and full of twinkling stars. Then imagine out of that crisp, cold starry night this sawdust burner glowing red, the only other light apart from the stars. We had hitchhiked to the northern end of California where we were living in a little cabin on the Karok Reservation, outside Fort Jones. We made it to Yreka late that night, too late to find a ride over the mountain. It was a little snowy, and very cold and we had no place to sleep. We looked around and spotted this sawdust burner close to the road and its red glow drew us to it. It looked pretty cozy, so we walked around behind it and rolled out our sleeping bags and slept at the base of it, just close enough to stay warm for the night. What a blessing it was! We woke up in the morning and returned home safely, no worse off for our night on the ground.
There is no such warmth here in Chico on this cold and rainy night. I hope those without a place to sleep have found some protection tonight.