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Red sky at night, blogger’s delight

July 16, 2015


The fire in the sky Wednesday was of the metaphorical sunset variety but it certainly reflected the real wildfires that still burn elsewhere across British Columbia.

Some quantity of the smoke from hundreds of thousands of kilometres of burnt trees continues to hang in our skies; visibly lending a fierce intensity to the spectacles of dusk and dawn, even as it invisibly mingles with any smog and/or ozone in the hot stagnant air.

Nearly two week ago, I was chatting with an especially cheerful septuagenarian when that pall of woodsmoke descended over Vancouver, on July 5.

Solicitously I had inquired after her health; asking if was she having trouble breathing the smoky air.

She explained that she was managing alright and then she went on to remind me that the Vancouver she had grown up in had been a very smoky town. For about two-thirds of her life, Vancouver residents had been free to burn everything from their daily garbage to their autumn leaves.

Burning with embarrassment, as I recall

Living in Vancouver since 1980, I don’t remember giving much thought to all that burning until the city finally put a stop to it (in the early 1990s?). I remember how it took me weeks to convince my landlord to stop incinerating the building’s garbage in the furnace.

It had been so mortifying with my building being the only one doing it for kilometres. It looked, frankly, like I lived in a crematorium.

I simply don’t remember what it looked like when every apartment building and home could do it.

But if I’ve edited all the smoke (from cigarettes also)  out of my memories of 1980s Vancouver, I know that it was there and I’m sure there was even more of it back in the 1960s.

Two Sundays ago, just to make chit-chat and in that way that we sometimes state a fact like it’s question, I said to the woman: “You  must have had great sunsets?”

“Oh we did”, she declared, with a big smile. Click the image to enlarge it.

From → Fairview

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