When the call connects and I ask Angel Chavarin if I’m speaking to AWN-hell or AIN-gel, there’s a familiar pause. I can hear the faint echo of my own words finally reach the cellphone’s speaker on the other end of the line a few seconds later, and then a voice responds:
A scene from the fallout of the Holiday Farm Fire in Oregon.
“Yep, it sure is. AIN-gel works. No one around here calls me AWN-hell except my dad.”
It’s a delay I recognize from using satellite phone connections while on assignment on the Alaskan tundra and other remote areas. The signal carrying my words must travel over 22,000 miles (35,000 kilometers) to a satellite in geostationary orbit and then another 22,000 miles back to Earth to reach the person on the other end of the call.
But Chavarin isn’t speaking