Many miles away, the sea of grass fades into the rocky outcroppings of Mt. Diablo. Sharp corners pierce the otherwise blank, rolling landscape and give way to a plethora of buildings in the West. As the fog dissipates and the sun continues to rise, the city skyline reveals itself, a glimmering cascade of metal and glass, a kaleidoscope of colors on an otherwise blue background.
The temperature rises and the throng of humanity below sheds its layers. The fog is gone – supplanted with the unfortunate reality of smog. The few trees that stand in my vision are what once remain of a great outcropping of evergreens, now, reduced to dead branches, the bones of these giants blend into the landscape. A gopher snake slithers down the hill beside my hiking path, careful to avoid jagged slabs of sedimentary sedentary stone.
In the distance, I-680 and I-24 fill with traffic. To my right, is that smoke? Wailing fire engines? Minutes later, the conflagration is visible above the trees; hundreds of cars come to a standstill as emergency personnel rush to stop the madness. A gust of wind cascades across the mountain, fans the flames in the distance and brings mores cars to a standstill. A fire mercilessly burns through sun-scorched brush, the temperature becomes more unbearable, the earth under my feet smolders. As the fire burns, much stays the same: the ground is cracked, albeit scorched; the rocks are unmoved, yet soot-covered and all of the soil is a darker hue of brown.
From San Francisco, through the light smog and fog, Mt. Diablo’s summit is visible – one cold day every year, while the people below carry on with their lives, the summit is covered in a thin coat of snow. As the climate continues to change where I live, will I ever wake up to see snow falling outside my window? Will my home be submerged as sea levels rise? At what point will we all acknowledge the issue and think of a viable solution?