You know that feeling when you come home from being away, take a look around your house and see it through fresh eyes? That happened to me last Sunday, only I hadn’t been away and my eyes were anything but fresh. They were scratchy and bloodshot from all the smoke in the air.
Extreme heat and record breaking temperatures have led to nearly 100 active wildfires in B.C. Half the province is sitting at a high danger rating, verging on the edge of extreme. It’s scary and worrisome, particularly for firefighters and for those living close to the hot zones. But it’s also impacting Vancouver and Victoria. A massive blanket of smoke has hovered over both cities for days. We’ve experienced wildfire smoke before, but nothing like this.
It started early Sunday. By noon, the sky was a dull, apocalyptic orange. There was a sense of expectancy in the air, a hush almost. The birds were silent. There were no bees buzzing, no flies flying. And the colors in the garden were . . . just off. The greens were almost fluorescent in their intensity. Our string of white LED patio lights, which are normally invisible during the day, took on a brilliant, otherworldly blue glow. My blue lobelia and blue salvia patens flowers turned a rich amethyst purple.
It was oddly surreal, like stepping outside the back door and landing in the Twilight Zone. Or waking up and finding a giant orange filter has been placed over your entire world. The smoke cover cooled things off and without the bees buzzing around gathering nectar, I spent some time outside picking raspberries, weeding the lettuce bed and doing a little tidying. It was a different perspective alright. A new look at old digs, so to speak.
The smoke is starting to clear – which is a good thing – but I hope the new perspective holds. I have a couple of manuscripts waiting for a set of fresh eyes. Maybe I should read them wearing extra-strength sunglasses. That orange glow worked wonders on the garden.