It’s forest fire season in Oregon. Yellow smoke fills the valley. I can’t see the mountains, can’t see across the street. My neighbor says, Don’t worry, the fire’s still thirty miles away.
For weeks, my small town has been blighted by a thick, toxic smog. There’s a government advisory to remain indoors. Like everyone else, I’m going a little crazy. I decide to risk a walk. On Main Street, people are window-shopping in particle masks. For a moment, I can almost pretend the smoke smells like bacon or toast. Really it smells like war.
At the food co-op, I order a coffee and bravely take a table outside. I write in my journal: 8 a.m., July 25, 2017. I’m ready to report on the disaster, describe the burning forests, the end of the world.