When Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

The smoke is making everything weird. Like with CoVid, I shouldn’t be writing this post, as the fires are nowhere near our city and the smoke is a mere nuisance rather than the calling card of complete and utter devastation. But here I am, writing this post anyway because that’s how I make sense of things.

Everything is pinkish gray. It’s like we’re living inside an Instagram filter, or maybe in the movie Inception. The trees, the petunias, the picnic table all exist right outside my window but they might as well be in a different universe. They’re themselves, but they’re not themselves. I’m living my life, but I’m not living my life. Everything’s the same, but nothing’s the same. If I were an animal in the zoo, I’d be a jaguar—the one that paces back and forth with its mouth cracked open, trying to take enough steps to get back to that one place with all the grass and sky and antelope. What was it called?

I don’t mind being stuck inside on a rainy day, but it’s quite a different thing to be stuck inside on a smoky day. The ash out there—it’s made up of pieces of forests, homes, of living things that weren’t fast enough or who took a wrong turn or who didn’t see it coming. When I remember that, the smoke doesn’t feel like a nuisance. It feels like a great, deep sadness.

In the 80s, we read about gray futures where people stay in side, where they’re afraid to go out or where they’ve been ordered not to. Even though we knew the books were forecasting a future that could happen, we never thought it really would. (After all, not one of those books included a massive run on toilet paper.) Maybe we still aren’t. But when you look outside, it’s hard to imagine we’re not.

We’ve already cleaned out all our closets. We’ve watched all of TV.  We’ve dusted all the baseboards, touched up all the risers, sorted the mismatched socks. So now all there is to do is look outside and wonder if this is real or if we’re figments of George Orwell’s imagination.

Now I’m at the bottom of this post and I’m not any closer to making sense of things than when I started! I’ve gone and covered you with my own cloud. Maybe a picture from the week before would help, like a lollipop at the end of a doctor’s appointment?


Ugh! Gross! Not that one—that’s from when I nailed my shin on the stairs.


No! Stop! That’s just another angle of the same thing!


Now we’re getting a bit weird (this is how the doctor found Rocco when he walked in for Rocco’s wellness appointment).


This one is just an example of bad posture.


Okay, now we’re just getting silly. Come on, Me. Put in a nice picture!


There we go. Something simple and sweet.


Something that exists just underneath it all.


Something that is waiting, like us, to see the sun again.


Or, even better, the rain.

Smoked pork shoulder
Cheese souffle
Buttered green beans
Blackberry peach cobbler

One thought on “When Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s