All The World Is Gray

Sep 5, 2017 | 1 comment

Lightening Strike

The farther south we drove yesterday, the grayer it got.  We began to smell the smoke a bit beyond Eugene and by the time we arrived here in Ashland, our eyes felt a bit gritty – or maybe we were just tired from the journey.

It seemed quiet in town – maybe just the aftermath of the Labor Day weekend.  This morning we’ll get a better sense of how things are. Our waitress last night said that there hadn’t been any appreciable lessening in business that she could tell, even though the air quality from Oregon’s wildfires have caused the outdoor performances to be cancelled on several occasions.

Chetco Bar Fire. Oregon

Although we’ve kept apprised of the situation from afar, I feel somewhat guilty that I don’t know more about the circumstances under which Ashland and the rest of Southern Oregon find themselves.  Although there are now other wildfires throughout the state – even in the Columbia River Gorge – the main cause of the poor air quality here the Chetco Bar Fire sparked by lightning in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness on July 12th.

As of yesterday (September 4th) morning, the fire was estimated at 142,857 acres and 10% contained, although an update to that local NBC news report said, “At last check, the Chetco Bar Fire has burned 167,513 acres and is 5 percent contained”.  Yet another report gave an October 15th date for complete containment. In addition to Chetco Bar, which is ranked as the nation’s top firefighting priority, several other fires near the Rogue Valley in Jackson County are contributing to poor air quality.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Worker

In a way, it all seems rather surreal.  Visibility grays out and it’s difficult to see  buildings only a block distant. This morning on our way to breakfast we encountered the gardening crew working on the motel grounds, each worker wearing a businesslike mask as he went about his duties.  We expect that we will see the same “costume” many times over as we approach the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s complex.  Before that, however, we may well be hunting up masks of our own.  Under discussion also is the possibility of heading home early, especially if Nyel’s breathing ability seems to be additionally compromised.

“All the world’s a stage…” said Jacques in Shakespeare’s As You Like It. I, myself, like a more colorful set.  This gray look is scary.

1 Comment

  1. Lorna Follis

    Appreciate this post, Sydney. I’m headed to Ashland in a few days. Guess I’ll pack a mask.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *