Thursday, August 10, 2017
I will concede that maybe it isn’t actually the end of times, but it feels like it. I’m not saying this because of my daily dose of Dad’s “Faux News,” or the fact that I’m reading “The Handmaid’s Tale,” or any of the other 99 problems that seem to make up daily life for all of us. Here, in what was once a lush, green, and rain-soaked state, we have had NO rain in almost 2 months, and close to two weeks of consecutive above 90-degree daytime heat. It is, in a word, unbearable.
Perhaps the tipping point, in all of this, is the smoke from the forest fires burning in Canada as well as those close by. It has descended upon us. My mother would have told me the air was “heavy,” making it hard to breathe. She is right; it is hard to breathe. Maybe it’s this lack of oxygen that has had a dastardly effect on my mental state, but I think it’s more likely to be the lack of sleep due to the heat.
A week ago we woke up to this phenomena of our neighbor to the north’s smoke. The sky was orange and a haze filled the air. It was an ominous presence. Fire is one of the things on Dad’s list of worries. On this day, it made it’s insidious way onto my list. With the early morning landscape a glowing heat, it seemed like a very real and present danger. It felt like our world was on fire, and this feeling has lingered…….for days on end. Fear of natural disaster is exhausting in its own right.
The smoke has brought no noticeable odor, or at least I don’t smell it, which could be my allergies talking. There are warnings to stay inside due to the poor air quality, and sore throats and burning eyes are a common complaint. We Oregonians tend to be a hearty bunch, but heat, lack of rain, bad air, and for many, a lack of AC, makes us surly and unfit for social events. (or driving, if you really want to get specific) The heat has made it hard to sleep, the smoke has made it hard to breathe, and the lack of rain has made us generally uncomfortable. It’s not normal.
We have been promised some rain over the weekend. It had better actually happen. There is only so much you can ask your allergy pills and/or mood-altering medication to do. So, if in fact you are planning on visiting our fair State for the purposes of basking in the path of totality that the “once in a lifetime Solar Eclipse,” will bring to our city, you have been warned. My people are on edge. Don’t plan on lighting ANYTHING on fire, and don’t antagonize us. And while you’re at it, the Sheriff’s Office is concerned about our sewer system being overwhelmed by the huge influx of people to our state. So, you had best plan ahead regarding your personal needs. We’ve been through a lot. We need some time, space, and a little rain to restore our naturally free and gentle spirit.