Well hello, hello! Long time and all that. Still having problems with this computer, but I took a couple pictures the other evening that I just thought I had to show you. You see, as nice a summer as we’ve been having here in Vancouver (and really it has been a great one) it’s quite unfortunate, and even downright tragic, that the reason for the lovely cool evenings that seem so perfect for walking in, are actually the result of our sunlight being drastically filtered by the smoke from several raging forest fires in the north of the province.
If one was to look at the long-range weather forecast for this area a few weeks ago, they were predicting a blistering heat-wave accompanied by record-breaking temperatures. But that was before the smoke drifted in and blotted out the sun. Now I’m not trying to say that you can’t see the sun, this is no Biblical apocalypse I’m describing here; in fact, far from it. If you were unaware of the fires, you might just think it was some kind of very light haze in the air. The sun is still getting through, and if you hadn’t been informed that we were actually experiencing extremely high temperatures, the coolness at ground level would just just make you think you were having a nice mild summer. That impression, however, would instantly be challenged the first time you were up late enough, and in a location where it was convenient enough, that you could catch a glance at the moon after it’s risen (or the sun while it’s in the act of setting). This happened to me while I was on my balcony studying the other night by the light of a reading lamp.
My first impression when I saw the moon out of the corner of my eye, just as it was coming up, was that we were experiencing a “harvest moon”. To see a great big orange moon when its low on the horizon at this time of the year is not all that uncommon in these parts, and I must have just dismissed it, thinking it would turn silver as it got higher in its path. It was when I was taking a break at just after nine, that I looked for the moon again, higher in the sky (thinking it would be silver by now), and then I took notice of what I was seeing. For not only was the moon still orange, but it was now a dark, almost ominous orange, with very little light getting through, and what almost looked like tiny black clouds or particles hovering in front of it, although I knew it to be a clear night. So solid was whatever was hanging in front of the moon, I became convinced that clouds of some kind had in fact moved in during the time I was studying. I immediately grabbed my camera, and took the first set of pictures, which I finished taking at 9:30 p.m.. It was the next set of pictures that I took after two more hours of study, at 11:30 p.m., (when the moon had finally climbed out of the worst of the smoke) that convinced me that I had been wrong about the clouds, it really was a completely clear night, which meant, of course, that all that stuff hanging in front of the moon in the first set of pictures, was in fact the smoke that we’ve all been breathing for the last three weeks or so. And of course, since smoke is heavy, it would be even worse here at ground level.
My own doctor, when I was last speaking with her, told me that since the smoke arrived, she’s had to be handing out (prescribing) “puffers” for her patients with asthma, and other respiratory illnesses at a rate like she’s never seen before, plus she’s had to up the rate of use for those who were already on them. I now understand why.
So at any rate, I thought I would show you these two pictures. If you’re wondering, I’ve done done nothing to enhance either of these, and as an eye-witness, I can tell you that on my screen at least, the colors, and the haziness (especially in the first shot), are a pretty good reproduction of exactly what I was looking at. So in the meantime, I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. Please stay happy, healthy, and safe. And oh, remember what Smoky the Bear always used to say: “Only YOU can prevent forest fires!”