Watch the clip here and maybe you will understand my ramblings below which pretty much describe the past week. If you feel squemish reading about sinus problems…then you may not want to read the post.
Wildfire Season. It happens every year but this is the first year I consciously feel the effects of fire, smoke and pollution to such a noticeable degree.
Every morning, I wake up slightly fatigued but as the morning progresses, the mucus that has been building overnight becomes thicker and thicker. It’s already warm outside and I can start to feel the morning heat as I stand near the window but still I sip on a piping hot cup of coffee to calm my throat and cure my slight pressure headache.
The commute into work which was once encircled by mountains in every direction now reveals a stronger hue of brown static clouds over the city. The mountains themselves now blend into the sky.
What appears to be cotton thin clouds is actually haze. Haze from fires burning miles and miles away in another micro-climate. Haze that extends from faraway lands of pines and unimaginable greenery not found in the desert. The brown pollution cloud which has now married with the haze of the fires clings fervently to the atmosphere. Blink and you’ll miss the part of the Loop 202 that faces the McDowell Mountains– which is currently the only mountain range clearly visible.
Once through the commute, I try to forget about the fuzzy air outside but as I’m logging into my computer at work I already have to reach for the tissues. Each blow into the tissue also reveals scarlet strands of blood. Any other time of the year I’d fret that perhaps this is a sign of a more serious condition yet traces of it is typical this time of year. However, this year the blood is redder, thicker and discharges more frequently. Luckily it subsides the next time I reach for the box.
By high noon, the heat is enveloping the city which ripens the potency of the pollution and haze. But I’m in the middle of it now, walking smack in the middle of the city the sky look clear from inside the pollution cloud. I should stay indoors but I forget that I’m inside the pollution tent. I still trek to the nearby campus to eat my lunch and unwind in the student lounge. My walk back to work is capped by a dull ache in the lungs as I come coughing back into work.
I see the smokers standing outside the building and wonder how they do it? How do they voluntarily inhale the stuff that is slowly sure to kill us all – stuff that is already permeating the ions that contain our very existence?
Get back inside and refill your tumbler with cool cool water I tell myself. I splash a little bit on my face and neck to help adjust to the air conditioning. In a few more hours, I’ll be back outside again exposing myself to the heat, smoke and dirt.
Although the haze is enveloping the entire metropolis, at least when I head back east to my little patch of the world I can wave goodbye to the brown pollution cloud and some of the physical symptoms will be alleviated. At least for a few hours until I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.