Thursday, September 07, 2006

Smoke gets in your eyes

Sang into the smoky air last night, thinking of faraway friends.

From the stage, I watched the color on the stone wall at the end of the block go from white to orange-gold under the setting sun, the light filtered through thickening smoke. After the encore, a few scattered raindrops fell. Then a wild wind kicked up, whipping my hair in all directions. I sat with the supper we sang for and a glass of merlot, watching a couple lost napkins soar up three stories high like white birds in the darkness.

This morning, the smoke still sits in the valley, a little thinner for now. At least I can see the hills directly above town, today. Idaho has more wildfires burning than any other state. We're getting the smoke from Washington, Oregon, and Nevada's fires as well. I've never seen a summer like this.


Update: The hills above town disappeared again this afternoon, so I drove up the road to find them.

Do you see them? I don't either. They should be looming:

Looking back to where a metropolitan area of 250,000 or so should be visible, sprawled across the valley:

View of downtown from about a mile and a half away:

Update to the update:
It's gotten progressively worse since I took those pictures a few hours ago. I have never seen our skies like this.
Air quality cam


Blogger Sky said...

It sounds so dangerous to healthy breathing. I am sure I would be having much difficulty since I my respiratory system is so sensitive.

Stay safe and try to limit your exposure!

9/07/2006 11:00 AM  
Blogger zhoen said...

Those are weird summers, when the fire is on the air. Perfect description.

9/07/2006 11:43 AM  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

during my recent trip of nm i was amazed at seeing the smoke tumbling across the sky from the mountain ranges. it was beautiful and intriguing but also very sad and scarey.

9/07/2006 12:21 PM  
Blogger Dale said...

You write so beautifully.

The air has cleared over here, in the last couple days. I imagine because all our smoke is blowing your way now :-)

This has been a sort of haunted summer, hasn't it.

9/07/2006 12:29 PM  
Blogger alan said...

May some fall rains begin soon to dampen those fires and give you nad so many others some respite!


9/07/2006 12:51 PM  
Blogger MB said...

Sky, no, this would not be good for you. We now have an air quality alert of "unhealthy for sensitive groups." I am staying mostly indoors.

Zhoen, weird is a good word for it.

Michelle, "beautiful and intriguing but... scarey" describes it pretty well. The environment here is largely fire-dependent, but to have so much at once is a little daunting.

Dale, thank you very much. Yes, I see from the maps that you're in the clear now. I'm glad!

Alan, around here at this time of year we get forecasts mostly for "dry thunderstorms" — clouds, wind, lightning and sometimes virga.

9/07/2006 3:39 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

It sounds ominous & scary... and looks about the same. Oh dear, I do hope for relief for you soon!

9/07/2006 5:58 PM  
Blogger rdl said...

I like the lyrics, i was thinking they sound like yr. poetry.
Hope the fires are under control. Stay safe.

9/07/2006 6:43 PM  
Blogger MB said...

Brenda, I realize I should make clear: I am safe from fires. It's the smoke that is horrendous. And yes, I hope for relief soon, too!

RDL, thank you so much. I'm safe, just very uncomfortable. Can you believe that cam? There's no city left to be seen! This is, I believe, a historic event.

9/07/2006 7:49 PM  
Blogger Sky said...

these photographs are alarming. i am glad you are staying inside. hopefully there will be relief soon.

9/07/2006 8:17 PM  
Blogger Jean said...

I love seeing your photos recently, of a region I know nothing at all about, with or and without smoke. It must be weird when it goes on and on, like being under a blanket that you can't throw off. Wishing you changing winds and refreshing rain soon. And loving the thought of your voice ringing out through the smoke. I shall think of this today when I play your cd's, as I've been doing daily with intense pleasure since I received them.

9/08/2006 2:58 AM  
Blogger floots said...

sorry about the fires
but thank you for letting me join the post-gig supper
beautifully told

9/08/2006 4:08 AM  
Blogger Pat Paulk said...

Sounds like a place, only, backroom politicians and deadwood could thrive in. Sorry about the "smoke in your eyes", do like the thoughts though!!

9/08/2006 4:35 AM  
Blogger Sue hardy-Dawson said...

It's amazing how it just turns the sky grey, but the writing at the beginning really took me there a beautiful still moment

9/08/2006 10:51 AM  
Blogger Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

"Faraway friends" -- a thought that always hits home. At least now I know they're friends, anyway. Which reminds me, I must buy a CD from you soon.

9/08/2006 11:07 AM  
Blogger MB said...

Sky, the air is a little better today, though there's still heavy smoke. We got some thunder and lightning last night, but not enough of a storm yet to push things through. In fact the system sparked a couple new fires.

Jean, I'm glad to know you enjoyed the photos. If it's a blanket, then it's a stinky one and we're not clear of it yet. I am gratified to know also that you received and are enjoying the cds. Thank you so much.

Floots, happy to have you join me for supper! There was a cougar on the loose in town today — what next??

Pat, smoky backwater rooms indeed. Thanks for the chuckle.

Sue, the sky is normally a brilliant blue. Thanks for your kind words.

Richard, always glad to hear from this friend. Thank you!

9/08/2006 1:24 PM  
Blogger leslee said...

Ugh, sounds awful and sad. The smoke must be getting into everything and you'll smell it long after the fires are out (may that be soon!).

9/09/2006 6:09 AM  
Blogger MB said...

Leslee, it's improved some — we finally shifted today out of the "Red alert" back into "Yellow" (moderate). It's impossible to know how long the fires will burn. These forests need to burn, but the way the smoke has pooled in our valley has been awful. Yes, may they stop soon! ;-)

9/09/2006 8:45 AM  

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