Like Nothing Else
My older son and I greet each other every morning with cynical smiles, saying, “Well, at least things can’t get any worse!” And we are proven wrong.
Six months at home due to the pandemic has been hard on everyone. This is an ever-evolving challenge for many on multiple fronts: Finances, relationships, mental health. And for many, even the basics are in jeopardy: Food, clothing and shelter.
In California, the fire season hit early and hard. After weeks of burning, the hazardous air quality kept people from a primary sanity-saver, time outdoors in nature. Then we were hit with a heat wave. Even cool, foggy San Francisco reached a 100 degree record.
Just as things started to cool a bit, fires exploded further afar. Places like Colorado, and then Oregon and Washington were dealing with deadly infernos.
One morning in early September, it felt like the sun never rose in San Francisco. Multiple layers of smoke from fires near and far blocked the sun. All we could see was an orange-brown sky, even at midday.
Our noon was like nighttime on Mars. Oddly, the air was still moderately breathable that day. The next day the sun burned brighter through the smoke, but the harmful particles sunk lower. Code purple hazardous air quality has continued for days.
The cumulative pummeling of these days is like nothing else.
And yet we hope. We do not give up. We don’t stop checking in on our neighbors and friends. We get groceries, fully masked for pandemic and smoke, for those who can’t get their own. And we think about a day when we can again enjoy the simple freedom of taking a walk as a pandemic sanity-saver.
This Golden Gate Bridge photo was shot late afternoon on the “San Francisco on Mars” day when the sun finally burned through a bit. It was even darker at noon. This Insights post would normally introduce a hike from the archives on a related theme, but the dire days this week offered no companion hike.
Instead, here is a link to the Quick View Hike List, which includes all the Hike Notes so far (115 and counting!), listed by region. We can enjoy looking at places for future visits when nature’s fury has settled enough to let us back outdoors.
The long list of Hikes can be found on the Quick View Hike List and on the main Hikes page. All past Insights posts can also be viewed in the Insights/Hike Update News archives.
Check the Home page for the broader background story. If you’re not able to take one of these Northern California hikes, hopefully you can enjoy the photo galleries at the bottom of each hike page! Click Insights/Hike Update News for inspiring reflections. Please feel free to share.
This week’s Hike Notes link to skim through for future outings when the smoke has cleared:
Quick View Hike List
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.