‘Tis the Season
When I looked out the window this morning, I noticed that a haze obscured the horizon. In the distance, it looked similar to the fine misty rain that we get in the fall and in its own way, is lovely. It creates the softness of a painting initially created in water colors, then over washed in sepia tones. The hills look less defined, the trees have the vague characteristics of eerie woods in a fairy tale. The evenings present sunsets that are glorious and the sky glows with one of the more mysteriously named crayon colors in a box of sixty-four — one of the big boxes that as a child I craved, even though I mostly got the box of twenty-four. “How many different colors does a person need?” my mother would ask. More than twenty four, I knew then and still know now. The odor is not overpowering — not yet — but there’s something pungent in the air. People cough ever so slightly, and walk with handkerchiefs in their hands or poking out of shirt pockets, easily accessible. Newspaper editorials begin to appear, both praising and condemning the forest service and the management of natural resources. Asthmatics stay inside with their windows closed, the air conditioning running. It’s beautiful, it’s frightening, it’s disheartening. It’s fire season in the West.