Monday, June 06, 2011

Albuquerque skies

The sky was gray again tonight. It's been going on almost a week now.

We first noticed it Thursday evening. As we got out of the car, I sniffed and said, "Huh, somebody's grilling." (As a life-long allergy sufferer, if I can smell something, it's strong.)

The Wookie shook his head. "No, there's a housefire somewhere in town. We were smelling it at the store." We shrugged in unison and went in.

But the smoke didn't go away.

As it turns out, Arizona's on fire. The third largest fire in Arizona history is over 200 miles away, and is still managing to screw up our lives.

I smelled smoke all evening Thursday, and then on Friday, I noticed a fine layer of pollen on everything. Until I took a deep breath, and realized that it was from trees that would never throw out pollen again.

It was interesting on Friday. Irritating on Saturday. And sincerely annoying on Sunday.

Guess what? We're going into Tuesday now.

I suspect that this is what it was like in Venice when Pompeii went down for the count: all the irritating smoke, but none of the exciting lava and fear for your lives.

It's giving people health issues, it's causing flights to be diverted away from the airport. Health officials are warning asthma sufferers to stay indoors. Not that everybody can.

I went out to help the Trophy Wife (an asthma sufferer) get into the house, and got soot in my eyes, blinding me for a few seconds. And it's not as bad here as some parts. The west side of the city (including places like Rio Rancho and Belen, who really don't want to admit that they're suburbs of Albuquerque) apparently has ash falling like snow in places, according to people who live there.

And the sky is gray, every morning and every evening.

It's basic physics, really. As the sun rises, the particles in the air warm, and can rise into the sky with the breeze and blow elsewhere. The sky clears. But as the sun goes down, things cool off and the particles sink.

And everything is gray once again.

Perhaps it's a metaphor for life.

And death.


Mustang Bobby said...

A little scent of burning pinon and juniper is nice -- it reminds me of a campfire. But it sounds like you're getting altogether too much, to the point of danger.

Here in South Florida, the wildfires are in the Everglades, and the smell is like burning newspaper. Even a small scent is nauseating.

Nameless Cynic said...

Yeah, my allergies are trying to kick me square in the sinuses - I'm on roughly a triple dose of antihistamines, and it barely holds it in check.

The Trophy Wife has slight asthma problems. Slight until this last two weeks, that is.

There's been a run on surgical masks in town. Anybody with major respiratory problems is supposed to stay inside as much as possible.

We're not supposed to run our swamp coolers; meanwhile, the temperature has been in the 80s and 90s, so that really isn't an option.

It seems to be settling down finally. Of course, every time I start to think that, I see something like this.