“Look! Is that Snow?”
An elderly lady asked this at the corner of Madison and Boren. It wasn’t — and we all knew she knew. It was just that it fell much like and appeared to be snow. Nevermind that it was 70 degrees and couldn’t possibly be snow. The mind is easy to fool, and the only feeling this could evoke was a mystical disquiet. The street conversation — between strangers; one of the beautiful things about city life — veered towards what it really was: ash. Someone named the fire complex from where it came and we parted ways at the behest of a walk signal.
It was, if you hadn’t heard, the first time that ash had fallen on the city of Seattle since Mt. St. Helens exploded. Indeed, a local I talked to earlier in the year, who had lived here for decades, couldn’t even remember when smoke had filled the air. Under the stare of a red-sun and its end of times red light, I walked back home. I was preparing myself for a trup to the Orcas with my better half, so as to disconnect from the world, if only for a few days. Moments like this — where the consequences of Climate Change make themselves known — were a part of this need to break off, but also the pathology behind how little we do to prepare for and minimize Climate Change. This was personified by our current POTUS and his intellectual marauding in the form of opening his mouth or tweeting.
One, after all, can only be outraged for so long.
So off we ran. Road, ferry, road. We made our first stop on the island at a farm selling expensive wool clothing and cheap fruit. The fruit was delicious, with a taste complex enough to bring a tear to my eye. This was a bucolic paradise.
Nevertheless, we tried hard to remain disconnected from our portals to humanity — our phones, our distraction — and we managed to stop each other whenever one tried to take a peek — especially in those quiet moments before sleep. We were…