As you explore Oakland, you come upon places where something has been erased and not yet replaced.
The Oakland Hills fire of October 1991 left these, the first on Acacia Avenue and the other two on Roble Road.
There must be reasons for each of these remaining ruins after almost twenty years. But here they are, some quite public and others in quiet privacy. People pass and pay them no mind. Another few decades and the traces might be gone.
I got an odd request last year: Henry K. Lee, author of Presumed Dead, asked me to visit the spot in the Oakland Hills where a notorious murderer put the body of his victim. He wanted to know how a geologist would describe the ground there. It was shale, crumbling and easily dug. The place was shrouded in oak woods, but everyday life was within earshot: lawn equipment whining, bicyclists conversing, dogs. The site—which I will not call a grave—was still being visited. But its traces should be left to vanish.