The Essentials

My parched throat croaks out complaints. The smoke blankets the coast and most of Vancouver Island. For several days, until yesterday, our area has been rated as 10+ (very unhealthy) on the Air Quality Index.  Last night a little breeze brought the rating down to 2, going up to 4 today. Relief for  dry, raspy throats, coughing lungs, aching heads, and itchy, red eyes.

As I researched other areas affected by the more than 560 fires in the province of British Columbia, I learned that some places have far more serious air quality issues than we do here on the coast.  Knowing what we are suffering here, my heart goes out to the people who live in those hardest hit areas.

The whitish-gray part of this photo should show blue water of the bay and greenish hills beyond, but none of that is visible  here. The smoke hangs in the nearby trees as if someone had a campfire going.

You can see the impact of a long, rainless summer on the grass in my front yard. It doesn’t even look yellowish brown as it should, but has a pinkish tinge from the red smoke-covered sun.

I’ve had my hedge trimmed and the trimmings are yet to be picked up. Just waiting for a slight reprieve from the heat. I feel very lucky to be able to think about mundane things like trimming a hedge when many hundreds of people in the province have had to evacuate their homes and manicuring their yard is the last thing on their mind.

During this summer’s fire season I have definitely learned to appreciate having a home. And having had to do without clean air and enough water, I know how important these things are — the essentials of life.

 

38 thoughts on “The Essentials

    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      Thanks, Luanne. A couple of nights ago it was really bad and I realized there was nowhere to go to get away from it. I was so glad to feel that breeze last night and see that much of the smoke had blown away this morning. There’s still a haze but nothing like before. They say it could return though. Ugh! The dogs are not complaining but I’m sure they’re wondering why everything smells like a campfire.

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      1. Luanne

        Just horrible. There have been fires recently where we brought up our kids in California, and I keep thinking I am glad I am not there but worry about the people and the animals.

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      When I checked the latest news I read that some places in the interior have double the highest rating. When it looks like dusk in what should be broad daylight and you are breathing some of the ash falling and coating vehicles, it has to be bad for your health. I’m not sure they are getting any relief yet. For myself, I’m glad to be out of the smoke, even temporarily, but I am sorry for those people still affected.

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  1. Peter Klopp

    Indeed your air quality is not too bad by comparison to areas in the Interior, where we live east of Kelowna. The air is so bad we cannot see the sun anymore. Hopefully it will soon come to an end with the approaching first rains.

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  2. shoreacres

    There are times when smoke from agricultural fires in Mexico comes our way, and although it’s hardly close to what you’re experiencing, it can be enough to obscure the sun and lead to coughing fits. Are you getting any ash, along with the smoke? I suppose not, as it seems the fires are far enough away from you for that not to be a problem. I had to smile at your comment about your pink grass, though. When the Saharan dust was here, the colors of everything changed. So strange.

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  3. Jennie

    Well said, Anneli. Mother Nature can shower you with disaster, which gives you much appreciation for the important things in life. While you have a Smokey sky and brown grass, you have a home and food and water. Do you have rain in the forecast?

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      Sorry I’m late replying, Jennie. I just found this comment in the spam folder. Have no idea why it ended up there. No, not much rain in the forecast. Just a few sprinkles, but I’ll gladly accept those. I agree, I’m very lucky to have a home, food, and water. My friends have no water right now and it certainly makes a person realize how important water is. The temperatures have cooled somewhat now and I am hopeful that we’ll soon get more rain (and of course then we’ll get too much and it won’t know when to stop!) But better than burning up in wildfires.

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  4. Still the Lucky Few

    I’ve been keeping an eye on other parts of British Columbia, noting the air quality with dismay. It sounds like some areas in the interior are even more smoky than Victoria, where I live. This morning, when I opened my blinds, I was thrilled to see blue sky, but sadly, the smoke moved in again. With our governments seemingly helpless in the face of these conditions, I can’t help but worry.

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  5. Debra

    I’m just so sorry for all those affected by these fires. Here in our part of California I think the air quality is a little better than a month ago, but those particulates are probably still at dangerous levels. I have to calm myself down every now and then not to worry about the future. We have enough to concern us just today! We took out most of our grass and planted drought tolerant plants a year or two ago. This “no rain” ordeal is a challenging adjustment! I am so sorry for your predicament, but it is interesting for me to hear about it. So much focus is on our local problems that sometimes we don’t hear much about other regions.

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      And I’m constantly reminding myself that we are lucky we haven’t had to leave our homes and that they haven’t burned down. Some people have such tragedies to deal with over these fires. Our air quality is better since yesterday as the wind shifted. I don’t know how long we’ll be lucky, but I’m hoping for rain for all of us who are affected by the fires.

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  6. roughwighting

    Scary – the too-dry-time, the fires and the smoke. My friends in the SF Bay area and Lake Tahoe area have suffered from smoke and fear of more fires. Here in NE, it’s the hottest, most humid summer I can remember, but we’ve been blessed with days of huge rains and thunderstorms. Weather is a constant reminder that we have no power, we humans, and that Mother Nature is in charge. Hope you can breathe more freely soon, my friend.

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