Smoke But No Mirrors
This was Montréal early this morning.
Québec has received only half its normal rainfall for May, and that’s following a winter with far lower than normal precipitation. As a result, the Saint Lawrence River is already at late-summer levels and the forests are bone dry …and burning, with the worst, out-of-control blazes raging in the upper Mauricie area, hundreds of kilometres northeast of Montréal.
Sitting watching TV around midnight last night, I started smelling the smoke. I hate to say it, but it wasn’t an entirely unpleasant smell although certainly distressing as the smell of burning anything always is. However, having seen on the news earlier that Québec City and Trois-Rivières had been veiled under smoke pushed down by strong winds from the northeast earlier in the day, I quickly realized what it was. And this morning I learned that the smoke from these fires has drifted as far south as upstate New York, Vermont, Maine, and even Massachusetts’ Cape Cod.
I went around the apartment to close all the windows and then stepped out on the balcony to stare at the moon, nearly full and orange red, pungent smoke hanging heavily in the air from those far-away burning trees. It reminded me of similar smoke cloud that drifted all the way to Halifax from Québec forest fires one summer morning in the early 1990s. The only difference that time and the above picture is that orange-coloured cloud stayed higher in the sky, but the smell and eery lighting was similar.
There’s not much rain is in the forecast in the coming days. I long wished for a warm, dry summer, but such a consequence is not what I had in mind.