Smoke Season

The apocalypse sun has lost its novelty.

We’ve had a few red sun days this week, but not many people have bothered to take pictures. I took a few, but only to show my friends living abroad. I also snapped a dead plant and that big stupid ladder. (I tweeted the ladder, but not the sun or the plants.)

Bit sad, the plants, aren’t they? They’re not my plants exactly, just the weeds that grew in my planter over the summer. They all died before wildfire season—and when did that term enter the popular lexicon? I’m sure firefighters have always used it, and smoke season as well, but when did we all start to dread it? I stocked up on eyedrops this year. I got itch cream as well, as the smoke makes me scratch. And I got an air purifier, top of the line. (Well, Mother sent that. I couldn’t pick which to buy. She chose one for me, and it arrived just in time.)

I have a feeling this year, smoke season won’t end. We’ve lost a village already, here in BC. Our berry crops died and went brown on the vine. In Sicily, snails are broiling in their shells. Lemons are melting. Grass is drying up. We’re used to the red sun, and the haze, and the heat.

I bought this apartment in 2016. It wasn’t built yet, but the developer’s website advertised AC. I said to my mother, isn’t that strange? Who has air conditioning, AC in BC? Nobody has that here. We don’t have AC. And Mother was all, well, you want it, right? I should’ve said yes, because who wouldn’t want that? What I actually said was, it’s a sign of the end. A sign we’ll soon need it, or we’ll bake to death.

My friend’s looking to buy a place in Foster City. Waterfront lots are going cheap: in ten years or twenty they’ll be under the waves. Or they’ll have views of a seawall fifty feet high.

If it floods here, I can swim out and take refuge on that big, stupid ladder. I won’t drown till the water’s at 108 feet. I might die of heatstroke, but at least I won’t drown.

I want to remember these things—me getting AC, and all those dead snails. I want to remember because two years ago, that red sun was news. Last year, just last year, our verges were green. This year they’ve gone yellow, and we’ve forgotten the sun. This winter, I wonder, will the wildfires die down?

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