Here in the PNW, we’re mostly surrounded by wildfire. To our north, to the east of us, and from the south. To our west is a breath of clean, fresh air – the Puget Sound. Beyond the Sound – the Olympic Mountains, the Salish Sea and the Pacific Ocean. And these bodies of water bring us onshore winds that cool and clean our increasingly hot, smoky summer days. Forest fires in our time of extreme and rapid climate change bring horrific destruction (excessive heat and drought causing fire to jump into tree canopies unlike fires of past centuries, fire tornados, thick smoke-filled air). But, fires also bring something else – stunning and surreal beauty of dramatic skies.
Last evening’s sunset – smoke-filled and unhealthy – was beautiful nonetheless. I stood on my front porch and watched the sky change as each minute passed. Other than human-created sounds, I heard nothing. No birds sang the day to close, no crows cawed goodnight to their world. Just cars, trucks, and wind. I said goodnight to the day, went inside, and closed the door to the smoke.