During our holiday to the Coast, we all suffered through a heat wave the likes and lengths of which I've not, as far back as I can remember, ever felt before. With searing temperatures up to 40C, each and every day, the normal activities of life were abandoned for a deck chair in the shade of the big old Maple Tree in the back garden.
We all stood in Graydon's little plastic pool. At one point, there were four adults and little Graydon all squished standing together, attempting to gain a little Cool from the rapidly warming Water in the pool.
We had a relatively quiet trip to the Coast; it was not until we arrived at Chilliwack that the traffic backed up to a crawl. The joys of travelling in the Summer are not all they are cracked up to be...car accidents and road construction had us joining the ferry lineup with one minute to spare. But we made it; that's all that counts, in my book!
My daughter and I visited the Vegetable stands at Naesgaards in town, after dropping my granddaughter and her friend off at Sproat Lake. Brianna is so very fortunate, indeed, to have a set of grandparents who live right on the Lake, with the extreme weather the way it was.
Naesgaard's is a place I loved, as I grew up. They sell the best Corn on the cob I have ever tasted, bar none. Every year, I would visit it, always coming away with some stunningly beautiful Vegetable that would grace the family's dinner.
I could not resist buying bags of Tomatoes, Peas, Beans, Carrots and Corn and Potatoes. Is there anything quite as beautiful as crates of freshly picked produce, at their very most luscious? It's the very taste of late Summer, to me.
In the evenings, we could see the smoke from the fires, just over the Mountains to the East...just a bit, just enough to know there would be plenty of smoke to greet us when we returned home.
And if the anticipation of breathing difficulties to come were not enough for us to worry about, we were given plenty of time to work out any concerns. We were caught in traffic jams from Departure Bay all the way to Abbotsford...a distance of some 80k.
It took three hours of driving very, very slowly in 36C temperatures. I was grateful for Air conditioning in our vehicle and felt deep sympathy for the travellers in convertibles and older trucks and cars. It must have been hellish, if the red, perspiring faces of the passengers were anything to go by...
After solving the World's problems during the long time spent crawling along, Graham and I stopped (finally!) at our usual motel and continued our trip home the next morning.
It was hot. Dry and smoky and yes...almost itchy. The very Air, filled with smoke particles, bothers my skin. And I re-learned how to breathe in the smoky Air...short, almost panting breaths.
Once again, I am becoming accustomed to gray/brown days. The green of the Coast is becoming a distant memory, one to be brought out when I am in despair over the misty, smoky flavour of the Cariboo.
There are tales of heroics amongst the fire fighters, each of whom deserves my gratitude. Fences and barns may burn, yet not one house has succumbed to the flames. Stories of wayward cattle and predators abound.
The smoke from these Fires has reached Alberta...I was told Williams Lake and its Fire Storm was on the front pages of Calgary's newspapers.
I don't know how long these Fire Storms will continue...there doesn't appear to be any let up as yet. We need Rain. Wind only fans the Flames and dry Lightning Storms don't help at all, only beginning new Fires.
It is as if the Fires have their own minds.
A lady told me how, on returning from her own holiday, she could not see the City of Williams Lake from the outlook on the highway. She thought to herself...Where is my town? It looks as if Fire and smoke have swallowed the town...
And so, with this tale in mind, I began a new story yesterday, where Fire takes on human characteristics. In my story, Fire takes over an entire country, leaving behind a black, evil space with twisted, burned creatures...a little dark, perhaps, but oh! so much fun!
It is always interesting to me to see where the stories I write will go...it is not as if I have any real idea at the beginnings of the writing of it.
I find it strange that something so drastic as a Fire Storm and the reports surrounding such a disaster would titillate the creative muse.
But perhaps the mini holiday and the relaxation I have just enjoyed had something to do with it...