Let’s start with a tangent: Eric HATES that song by Billy Joel because it gets stuck in his head and he can’t get it out for days. I was obsessed with it when it came out my senior year of high school — it felt so real and relevant and awesome! — and I’m still a fan. So there you go.
One more tangent, I almost titled this “Apocalypse Now” because wow that’s what it feels like: We are in the apocalypse. NOW.
Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth, I guess.
Okay anyway, to finally start this post, yes, the Western United States — Oregon, Washington and California — are on fire. On Saturday, Oregon reached the milestone of 1 million acres burned. Entire towns are gone. Portland has the worst air quality in the world.
Here’s what it looks like outside my window:
Here’s what it’s supposed to look like:
It smells like we have a campfire in the living room; outside, it smells like a thousand campfires. My eyes itch and it’s hard to breathe — and I’m healthy and able to stay inside. I worry about those whose lungs suck. I worry about those who are working in the orchards outside my house. I worry about those who are having to evacuate their homes (our town is smoky but not in danger, so we have multiple sites opened for evacuees, both human and animal).
And I’m deeply, deeply saddened by the loss of life and the knowledge that the numbers are going to keep rising. Many of these fires started fast and there wasn’t a lot of time to evacuate. The majority of Oregon is rural communities, and this is devastating on all sorts of levels.
COVID, forest fires, evacuations, online school starting today and general gloom. That’s where we’re at here.
P.S. The cats are mad at me for keeping them inside. I try to explain they have delicate lungs and eyeballs but they don’t listen. Hey, I’ve raised two toddlers and worked at a middle school. I know the cats are disappointed in me as a person and are openly judging me, but whatever. I am tough.