There are no mountains today. They’ve been eaten alive by a shroud of noxious grey. It’s times like this I feel deeply unsettled. Easily lost in both the geographic sense and the emotional. I often forget just how integral the mountains are to the alignment of my personal compass. They are my true north.
I keep staring straight at the sun. I wish I could say this was a new and spontaneous occurrence, but bright things often draw my eye. Even when they are too luminous. Scalding. Bruising. Leaving little trails of blackness across my sight like a meandering slug made out of the inky dark. I stare anyways. Knowing I shouldn’t. Unable not to.
I think of the fires that burn, long and slow; extinguished only when all available fuel has been used. The mountains, the ones I can see in my mind, are painted in swirls of chaotic red and fluorescent orange. From above, the night’s blindness is broken apart by a patchwork of sinuous, wildly dancing flames. The raging fires reduced to tiny patches of illumination in the velvet folds of the mountain side.
As it burns away, we in the city are no longer oblivious. Morning brings with it a heavy hand to press the earth and choke the air. Pretending it isn’t happening is no longer an option. One struggles to see to the end of the block; the smoky haze dulling the vibrant blue sky into bleached denim that has been washed a thousand times.
Stay safe out there, folks! Summer hazards are very real even when they don’t touch your own life. The closest fires to my city are over a hundred kilometers away and have been burning for months. This week is the first time the smoke has found its way to us and it’s scary AF. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to live with the fires marching straight across your town and devouring everything in their wake. My heart goes out to the displaced families and pets.
(I wrote the above text today and took these photos on my way to work. Did you like this feature? Join me next week for more Words of Wednesday where I share my free verse, poetry and prose. Thanks so much for stopping by for some words!)