No smoke coming through the screen or the keyboard, just evidence of smoke in green circles turning to yellow, then orange and finally red, on the AIR NOW page or my cellphone. Red—like the sun has been lately. full orange moon. Outside we are mostly in a barbecue setting, and I have two #95 masks I wear at the same time, as I had lung problems not so long ago and like to take an hour outside walk.

How do we cope with knowing that nearby beautiful trees and hillsides and small animals have flames and hot air all around? I don’t know. I feel gratitude from time to time. I am grateful for my life. I have been cooking blueberry cobbler and writing. I move the air purifier machine from room to room, and sing on Zoom with my husband, Shabda. Here is a poem to share.

Fire Flowers by Emily Pauline Johnson 
    [Tekahionwake—her native America name]

And only where the forest fires have sped, 
Scorching relentlessly the cool north lands, 
A sweet wild flower lifts its purple head, 
And, like some gentle spirit sorrow-fed, 
It hides the scars with almost human hands. 

And only to the heart that knows of grief, 
Of desolating fire, of human pain, 
There comes some purifying sweet belief, 
Some fellow-feeling beautiful, if brief. 
And life revives, and blossoms once again 

This poet had an English mother and her father was a Mohawk chief. They lived in Ontario. She was born in 1861. What kind of life would that have been?

May you who are reading this have full breath, a comfortable house to live in, food on the table and friends to give support when you need it.

Here are some walking pics to make a record of this strange masked time.