Here in Seattle, in the middle of August, the air is not so good lately. Smoke from forest fires near and far have settled in an orange haze over the city where it has not rained in nearly two months. There are no clouds, but I cannot see the sun. If I’m outside for long a tacky film forms on my lips and tongue. At night, the moon is a pale, bloody disc. It looks foreign to me above the city, as if some sickly imposter has taken its place.
Being Seattle, the words “global warming” don’t even need to be spoken. You can sense them on everyone’s lips like the film the smoke leaves behind in our mouths when we breathe. I prefer to stay inside, not to avoid the smoky air but what it drives me to think about: a burning, melting world. It’s all a little dystopian for me, and I don’t like dystopian stories. Yet here I seem to be in the middle of one.
Except if it were a dystopian tale it would end here, in smoke and filthy skies, a gloomy warning for anyone willing to listen. I cannot predict the future, but I do know September will come soon, and so too the steady Northwest rain, and a breeze will blow again, and the air and moon will be recognizable once more. The change will be welcome, though it will not change what brought the smoke in the first place, nor prevent it from returning next August. But we will be glad for it just the same because fires or no fires, rain or snow or sun, we can only live where and when we are.
I remain a fan of and believer in humanity. Though I am thoroughly schooled in our resume of cruelty, violence, and greed, I feel only good from the people I meet. Not always clarity, or peacefulness, or happiness, but a ceaseless desire to know all three. I have more faith in that desire than I do fear of our nearsightedness and vanity. Somehow we will work this out too, though it will take a little while, and not everyone will agree how to work it out, or if we should work it out, and we will all worry that it won’t be worked out – until it is, and then we’ll find something else to worry about.
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to September, to a blue sky, and a yellow sun, and a silver moon, and air that tastes like autumn. I’ll be glad for it until I’m used to it, and so the story of the summer will end, and so I’ll start another one.
If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual coaching and group workshops.
Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write With Confidence.
You can find William at: williamkenower.com