2018 Summer Holiday – Part 2: Sulfur & Stale Smoke

We’ve postponed our holiday for a few weeks and are in wait-and-see mode. Our trailer gives us a flexibility that we wouldn’t have if we were still tent-camping.

Wildfires seem to be a part of our summers now, and no matter well we seal up our little cottage the smell still creeps in through the cracks. I can feel it coating my teeth like a gritty slime that no amount of rinsing will get rid of.

It’s called PM2.5, fine particulate matter, a nice bloodless scientific descriptor, but really it’s all that’s left of the forests and grasses that have been swept down across the province by the infrequent breezes. A fine layer of grey dust, soot, coats anything left outside for more than an hour or so.

The sun and moon rise, each in their turn, stained a bloody orange, and set just as sullied.

Every so often I go out and sniff the air just to remind myself that it smells much worse out there than inside.

I don’t stay out for long.

The leaves on the Summer Tree hardly move. Last night I ventured out to water the garden and sprayed down its leaves. A tiny little wren flew onto one of the branches and had a shower, flapping her wings as she would in a birdbath, to make the drops fall from the leaves all around her. I smiled and got all teary at the same time.

I’ll do it again tonight.

I hope Wren told her friends.

34 comments on “2018 Summer Holiday – Part 2: Sulfur & Stale Smoke

  1. Wildlife can’t get away, and have problems with food, water, and shelter. It makes me so angry at the climate change deniers. The only good thing about the fires is that the particles in the atmosphere do reflect heat and light back into space, lowering the temperature. But it isn’t a finely-tuned process. Stay safe. Change your filters often enough so you’re not breathing as much junk. Water the wren.

    Thanks for the image.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Widdershins says:

      There are still people who sincerely believe the earth is flat too and no amount of science will convince them otherwise… so we just have to walk around them and get on with the job … and watering the wrens. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sue Vincent says:

    I hope Wren comes back and brings friends

    Liked by 2 people

  3. So well described that we stand there with you

    Liked by 3 people

  4. jenanita01 says:

    Hope on earth do you cope with such extreme weather? We complain about ours, here In UK, but really, we have it easy… Get someone else to hold the hose and join the wren!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Widdershins says:

      It’s the disconnection from everything we’ve grown up with hat is one of the most distressing things about it all. We’re genetically programmed to expect the climate to behave in a particular way, with a few exceptions, given our region and, and up until, when you and I were hitting adulthood, the effects of climate change hadn’t started to get right up in our faces like it is now.

      I think I’ll stand under the tree and point the hose straight up in the air. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ralph says:

    I assume that you are living in California dear Widdershins with all that smoke. I have another blogging friend in California who is nowhere near any fire, but is overwhelmed with smoke and particles. I hope that those awful fires are put out soon and that you can get some relief from the drought. The animals and birds must have a really bad time of it as they can’t get indoors like we can. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Widdershins says:

      Canada. 🙂 … if you find Vancouver, British Columbia on a map, (it’s on the bottom left-hand corner of Canada) we’re about 80 kilometers inland from there, near the Fraser River. The smoke is from all the wildfires further north and a few local ones.
      The wee beasties are really suffering, so I do what I can … there are showers forecast over the next few days so that will help.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Suzanne says:

    Gosh. Your writing really brings home how intense the summer must have been in Canada. I hope you get rain soon to clear the air and settle the dust.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. bone&silver says:

    Deep words for a challenging time, and focused so sweetly on the dusty wren- thank you for sharing and I wish I could send over some tropical Aussie rain but we have a drought too! 😢

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A beautiful picture caught in words. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The smoke is awful and I worry about the birds and insects, all the animals that can’t get away from it. The wind should be shifting today… so perhaps a bit clearer and fresher. Don’t wait too long to take your vacation or you’ll be soggy with rain!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Widdershins says:

      Getting sogged by the rain is looking rather attractive right about now. 🙂 … I can’t do anything about the critters in the fire zones but I sure can provide showers for the wee ones here.
      I’m checking Environment Canada’s weather reports rather obsessively at the moment and it’s looking good for the next seven days, at least for us here on the coast. The Interior will have to endure all this smoke being blown back at them before it clears there too. All digits crossed, for us all.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Olga Godim says:

    The smog of the fires even reached Vancouver. It hangs in the air like haze, so you can hardly see the sun, even though there is no smell or particles here. Stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. NASA reported that over 1.9 million acres are/have been on fire in western U.S. We were out and about today. Could hardly see the nearby mountains. I was surprised. The last few days of fog cleaned the air enough to let more of the smoke from the North in. Your description of the world up there reminds me of a story I read when I was a kid about the last days of Earth. Shudder. We’ll get through this, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. We’ve had smoke haze here in Victoria the past couple of days, but it doesn’t smell or taste of smoke. It’s depressing to think this is the “new normal,” for a whole lot of reasons. I’m looking forward to the rainy winter and thinking I have to change my gardening expectations. September is often the best month for a holiday, though, so I hope you have a good one.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. acflory says:

    Fire season is awful. I hope you get a week of rain to put it all out and clear the air. -hugs-

    Liked by 1 person

    • Widdershins says:

      We’ve had a couple of days of on-again, off-again rain but the sun is shining today and the sky is bright blue. All digits crossed that this lovely stretch of un-fire weather continues. 🙂


      • acflory says:

        Amen to that. We’ve had bushfires in NSW already, in WINTER. I’m in Victoria, where it hasn’t been as dry, but the authorities are already warning of a bad fire season ahead. I think we’re seeing the writing on the wall but our politicians have forgotten how to read.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Jay says:

    I saw a photo from space about how much of the world is on fire right now. It puts a real clamp on the heart.

    Liked by 1 person

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