Air Quality Lessons

Well, I learned things this week.

Obviously I’ve paid attention when friends in California and elsewhere post about their experiences with wildfires: the destruction, the disruption, and the air quality.

I just never thought it was anything I’d have to deal with in Vermont.

For the first time I can remember, we’re getting haze from wildfires in the West – all the way here! According to that article, it’s not too unusual for us to get some level of smoke haze, but it usually stays at high altitudes or clears up quickly.

Not this time! At lunchtime, I ran a few errands and thought “wow, it’s really hazy.” There’s almost nowhere in Vermont where you can’t see lines of mountains in at least the middle distance – and they were all either gone or very smudged. My eyes felt maybe a tiny bit like they were stinging, and I checked in with Olivia and asked if maybe I was imagining things or did it smell a little like smoke? With way more experience at smoky haze than I have, she confirmed that yup, it did smell like a barbecue.

there should be mountains there

So yeah. It was in fact quite smoky. I asked on Instagram and got a general sense that riding would not be a good idea, though I’d been very much looking forward to some exercise after a lazy weekend, and schooling some things in particular. The haze combined with Tristan’s allergies right now meant that was off the table. (He’s been coughing his way through warmup – nothing serious, half a delaying tactic and half just clearing things out and then settling in to work.)

I figured I’d get some organizing & political work done, and beat my head against that for two hours without feeling like I’d made any real progress (so.many.emails.) and finally just went to the barn anyway and groomed deeply.

Supposedly this will continue through Tuesday, and fingers crossed for some saddle time on Wednesday.

3 thoughts on “Air Quality Lessons

  1. I remember smelling the Yellowstone fires in New York City back in the late 1980s. That was unsettling. Now, out here in the maritime NW, I make sure we have some N95 masks around in case British Columbia, Oregon, or California smoke wends its way here and turns our skies orange-gray, as has been the case for at least a few weeks of each summer the past few years.


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