Lifting smoke, rising spirits

As I write the sun is looking more like its usual self and the heavy smoke of the past week seems to be lifting. The inversion layer that has blanketed Sisters is dissipating at last and life suddenly looks more cheerful.

We will happily say goodbye to nicotine-colored skies, ash that covers cars and sidewalks, sore throats and burning eyes, and the inescapable smell. Yesterday at the dentist all the talk was of smoke, the awfulness of it, the effects of it, the color of it, and the escaping of it. My intimate knowledge of smoke increases daily though it's not a topic I would have chosen.

The fire itself still burns. This morning's report has it at 22,000 acres with over a thousand firefighters. And the changing weather that improves things for us, and for the businesses here that rely on tourism, will make things worse for the firefighters. Lower humidity, higher temperatures, and westerly winds will, in the words of the incident report, "test containment lines."

Today we plan to take our bikes to Black Butte or the Metolius, where we're told the smoke is almost nonexistant. Exercise will surely help.

Have a good day and remember, there's nothing so pleasant as breathing.