If you are at all claustrophobic, seeing nothing but white smoke from the windows is unsettling. If you go outside, even a precious N95 mask unearthed from a dusty pile of paint cans and brushes is insufficient. Your lungs hurt. Your eyes burn.
Worse, just a few miles away from Portland, is the unending destruction. Houses evaporated, leaving asymmetrical piles of ash. Hulks of cars not yet paid off beyond salvage. The forlorn, black hulk of a child’s tricycle, seat gone, overturned on its side. The sounds of inconsolable sobbing from parents who shudder at what comes next. The horror as realization dawns that some neighbors did not make it.
Just weeks ago there was a kind of weird jubilation that even amid the heartbreak of the pandemic, the air seemed cleaner, the rivers more sparkling. Climate change couldn’t be that bad if a few weeks of shutdown showed such promise for the environment.
That hope, like trees and homes in California, Oregon, Idaho and Washington, has vanished. Climate change is manmade evil.
Flooding in the East Coast. Powerful hurricanes, far more dangerous than a few years ago, hurling at us so fast we are running out of names for them. Dozens of uncontained fires incinerating whole towns. Elsewhere, drought destroying more farmers’ desperate plans for survival.