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After the smoke clears

Hyman Weisbord


ST. HIPPOLYTE — Hi There.


I don’t know the physics of it, but two days of rain have given us relief from the

smoke in the air and we are now all less headachy, less wheezy, more energized.

This rain has not doused the fires that still rage further north, but here we have

clean air again.


This smoke in the air has been an insidious presence in our lives these last weeks,

coming and going; sometimes arriving in the dark of night and nudging awake

those with breathing sensitivities.


At those times when daylight arrives it is not day-light, it’s grey-light. Two days ago, Emma, Kate and I met up at the far end of Revdor to dunk in the water, sip a beer and watch the sun go down.


That day the forecast had been for a clear blue sky; but, all day we were surrounded in a monotone of grey pallor that obscured the blue, grey whisps hanging over the forest like a delicate shroud.


There was no breeze.


The sun was evident, but it seemed weakened on this day so close to the summer solstice. An orange orb, poorly defined, giving argument to the notion that we three had been dropped onto a future dystopia.


What added to this thought was the story Kathleen told as we sat there and looked out.


She had been surfing the gardening sites and had come across a post from a woman living close to the fires. This woman had a question about her vegetable patch.


It seems that all the insects except for the dragon flies had disappeared with the arrival of the smoke.


This gardener knew that some of her vegetables needed cross pollination from flying insects like the bees and was instead, doing this manually for her squash flowers with a small paint brush. What other plants, she wondered, needed this intervention?


The dragon flies, she noted, famous for dieting on mosquitos and deer flies, were eating each other.


So there we were. There I was.


For me, for the first time ever, IT was in my face. Scary. Not so subltle, not far removed.


It felt to me that sections of humanity might well go down in some apocalyptic tsunami-type event, and others, in a slow dissolution of life support.


The recent rains have cleared the air.


Montreal, which two days ago registered the worst air pollution of any city in the world, has now reverted to just another crappy-air city.


Here in the Laurentian Mountains, the air smells clean, the beathing is again easy and this grey day is because it IS a grey day, cloudy and raining.


I hope the dragon flies up north get back their food source.


Eating your own to survive.


Imagine. — Hyman

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