I can’t help wondering how British poet John Milton would have written about the fires in California. In the opening lines of his greatest epic, Paradise Lost,he describes the Hell into which a rebellious Satan fell:
“As one great Furnace flam'd, yet from those flames
No light, but rather darkness visible
Serv'd only to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
Still urges, and a fiery Deluge, fed
With ever-burning Sulphur unconsum'd…”
Milton’s description from 1667 seems prophetic.
Paradise has been lost again – this time the town of some 26,000 residents in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in central California. As I write these words, 63 people have been confirmed dead; 600 are missing; over 11,000 structures reduced to ashes.