Yesterday morning, I woke up retching and coughing. It was 4 AM, just before Dawn.
The bedroom was filled with smoke from Forest Fires, presently burning about six or seven miles away from our house. And it was not the only one...there were Fires surrounding the entire area.
As I drove into Williams Lake to give a Reiki session, the entire city was shrouded in a misty gray-brown smoke from the tremendous amount of Fires, started by Lightning, that dotted the area. I could barely see the buildings. Breathing was difficult for me, but not nearly as difficult as it is for people who are struggling with respiratory problems already.
This morning, as I checked the national weather forecast on my home page on the computer, I see smoke will obscure the Skies for at least the next three days.
In the house, there is a fine film of ash covering everything...the counters, the furniture, even the keyboard of the computer has a gritty feel to it. And everything smells as if I have been sitting next to a smoky, wet campfire.
It has been mind-blowing...the heat, the smoke and a ferocious Wind...so hot, it sears my face as I close the windows.
We have no air-conditioning, since it would only be in use for a couple of weeks of the year. It seemed a waste of money when we moved in, but oh! how I wish we had it now.
The Sun is a round, orange ball in the smoke laden Sky...there is so much smoke it is barely visible and I am able to look directly at it. There is the constant sound of aircraft...the whump, whump, whump of helicopter blades. I fight a feeling of doom...is the entire World shrouded in smoke? I can barely see the Trees not too far distant from me.
I notice Plants outside looking wilted and sad, barely hanging on. Their leaves have a fine coat of ash, making their life in my garden miserable. There has been no Rain of any significance for a long time. I water them a little, but cannot give them much...our well Water is a precious commodity in the Summer.
I hear stories of Animals on the move, some ending up under people's porches, trying to find an area without the eye-burning smoke. It makes me feel ill, all that smoke, it makes my stomach roil...I can only imagine how the wild Animals must feel. Where can they go to find relief?
Even as I watch a herd of Mule Deer move through the property, I notice the abundance of Bird life going on all around me. Birds that have been absent, going further North to their breeding habitat, and others, have returned. Some of their fledglings look very young, and I wonder if Fires have urged them back to us.
I watch two Birds on a limb beside the deck...one feeding the other, much younger one. I imagine their nest was destroyed, along with all the other Birds that are reappearing.
There is only a little relief in sight. Thunderstorms are in the weather forecast for the next three days; each one with the potential for many more Fires. But each may be accompanied by Rain, which will help the Firefighters presently working in such hot conditions.
My eyes are swollen and red; my chest feels tight and sore. I will close the windows in a short while...it is the only way to cool the house down with the cool early morning breeze...but the smoky air is becoming unbearable. I will wear a dust mask today.
The whole province of BC, with the exception of three small areas, is under extreme Fire conditions. Fires are burning everywhere...in the Cariboo district alone, 39 Fires of note began yesterday. And that figure may be higher today.
I live in the middle of a deeply Forested area. I must admit that when I moved here, I had no knowledge or understanding of how dry the Cariboo Region is. Had I known, quite possibly I would not have bought this house, which has huge Interior Fir Trees surrounding it.
In any situation, I try and find the good. I'm hard pressed to find good in this one, unless it is strength and experience in an atmosphere where the air quality is deemed very poor.
And so far, we are safe. There is great thankfulness in that...I am not one of the people whose homes have either burned or will burn. I have not been evacuated...I do not have to deal with leaving my belongings behind. I made it through last year, which was only a little better regarding any moisture, than this year.
And I am so very grateful that the Air quality in my area is generally very good...in fact, where I live, in higher elevations...it is excellent. It has given Animals and Birds a sanctuary.
Smoke has shown me how difficult air pollution really is and how easily it can lead to health problems. It gives me insight into some of the Hospice clients, who struggle to breathe.
I now know what that's like.