Monday, 24 August 2015

Smoke In The Air

There is a haze in the air here in Calgary, a flat grey dust blocking the sky, filtering the sun from view, leaving it a dull yellow, occasionally orange as the thickness of smoke rises and falls. This is the fallout from forest fires in BC, Alberta and Washington, a smoke filled sky blocking the view both far and near, the filtering effect visible as little as a few hundred feet.

I've never much been bothered by stuff like this, mostly just ignoring it and powering my way through my day. This time, however, is different. This time I can feel the smoke in my eyes, smell it as I breathe, taste it in my throat, sense the pressure of it on my lungs. For the first time in my life, this kind of air pollution, natural as it may be, affects me. I know it has been tough for my children, especially those who have suffered from asthma over the years. I can see why.

It's never been a problem for me, until now. With this smoke covered sky I am finally having to come completely to grips with the reality that I am one of those people the news talks about, those people with weakened immune systems or other health problems, those people who should stay indoors in a situation like this, stay away from breathing in the contaminated air. It would appear that I am truly less than healthy, no longer able to shrug off something as simple as smoke from a distant forest fire.

How long this smoke will hang around is anybody's guess. The fires persist. The weather pattern will bring the ashen results here, over the Rockies and into Calgary. For the time being it means I will stay indoors, not that I really get out a lot. Today was enough to convince me, the pressure in my chest building up after only a short shopping trip. I can still feel it within me, still feel that tickling in my throat, that sense of impeded lung capacity. I'm going to have to take it easy. I am not as strong as I used to be.

1 comment:

  1. My son-in-law and daughter live down in the Iowa farm country. The smoke from the fires has made it all the way down there as well (I've seen it and tasted it). What's really amazing, though, is that the corn this year has grown like crazy! Forget "knee high by the fourth of July" - it was as high as an elephant's eye back then. The farmers there are all talking about it being a result of the ash drifting into their fields and providing extra fertilizer!