While staying in a country or cultural setting that is not the one of one’s origin there seem to always be an endless supply of surprises about that culture or place that hits me. Maybe this is the experience of all people including those who have stayed put in the same town or village all their lives and suddenly realize something new about their culture. If this is the case then I must apologize for thinking that this only happens for those who never stick around the same place for more than 10 years at a time. However, I would like to share with you a new experience for me. It may be old news for some, but here we go.
I had heard of this phenomenon before and apparently it happens every summer here in Washington state. It even happens now and then in Sweden but it is more rare. Last weekend I was carpooling home to Spokane from a wedding in Vancouver, BC. As we were discussing which highway to take in order to get back out east, an interesting point was made. The driver wanted to make sure that none of the roads we took were closed because of forest fires. That was something that I never would have thought of if I drove alone. Good things the locals know their stuff.
As we drove we actually passed some fires in the night. Approaching them as the day came to an end there were massive clouds of smore that blocked our view of the mountains. If it wasn’t for the smell I would probably thought it was a great fog that lay over the land, but the air was too dry for that. We got to see two active fires in the night. They lit up the darkness of the night and I thought of how difficult it must be to fight these fires as they never need to rest. Firemen need rest at some point but the fire needs none.
Today I was walking home from the post office and snapped the shot that is the cover photo for this blog post (no filter). It doesn’t come out very clear in the photo, but there was a special light at the time when vast amounts of smoke from the fires outside the city drifted slowly above soon covering the entire sky. The sun shone through the smoke with a bright orange-red color as if it was setting, but it was still afternoon. I came home and found one of my housemates there. I told him he should go outside to check out the awesome light. He came outside but when I expressed my awe he said that this light made him depressed. I guess there are two sides to everything…