Rainy Day Writing

Writing, Reading, Inspirations and Aspirations

Dark Days Living in the Interior


I used to enjoy travelling around the interior western United States. But I never wanted to live there. In spite of it’s towering mountain ranges, mighty river systems, geological wonders and preponderance of National Parks, Forests and Monuments.

I was always glad to get back to the west side of the Cascades, where the air was softer, cooler and saturated with oxygen, not smoke, all summer. And of course it’s beautiful right here at home.

But the last decade or so things have definitely changed.

We spend more time indoors now in the summer…with the air conditioning on.

Actually, it’s recommended this week due to the smoke and haze that is blanketing the Northwest with thick cottony air that stings our eyes and throats. We are surrounded by fires that are pumping out a steady supply of carbon rich smoke. California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia. Some of it is coming from as far away as Russia!

Treetops Sunrise Misty Dawn Morning Hazy Mist


We have had under an inch of rain in the last 120 days here. The woods around our home are an abundant and overflowing tinder box. It makes me wary. It makes me crazy. I know I’m not imagining that things are getting worse.

It’s been far too many summers that I have felt this way.

Being stuck indoors on these long summer days is so irritating to me. It’s why I have never felt the desire to move to a warmer climate, even if the winters are more tolerable. When the days are long I want to spend them outside, like I used to, not inside hiding from the heat until after the sun goes down. What a waste!

There isn’t a pool in the world, lighted, beautifully landscaped, and just a step or two from the back door, that could make that lifestyle attractive to me.

Today I feel like a prisoner. Today, I think maybe we all are:

Prisoners on an earth ship that is precariously out of balance.

In a prison of our own making.

None of us knowing the length of our sentence, or if we will outlive it.

Perhaps it’s a death sentence. Some people think so.

We don’t know absolutely, but we know enough to make educated guesses, and the educated among us have been pretty accurate in their projections. More drought, more prolonged heat, more vicious storms. Less temperate and more harsh conditions. More crop failure, less food security. More wildfires and floods and famines. More political unrest. More refugees. Less diversity. Less life.

Less life. Yes, that is what I’m feeling. The life-less-ness.

I’m living it, and I recognize the irony.

But I have no basis to complain. I’m part of the problem. I’ve lived sixty years on this earth, in a fairly conventional western manner. I am an American, which by birth makes me a master consumer in comparison to people in many other parts of the world.

My attempts at reducing my ecological footprint have been paltry.

I undoubtedly deserve to be punished for the part I have played in the climate crisis we are facing. I feel the weight of it following me around these days the way a guilty man carries his sentence with him, with a sense of the inevitable.

Certainly the Orcas and the salmon and the dolphins and manatees don’t deserve to suffer for my dereliction of care for this planet. Or yours.

Another blogger mentioned reading an article about how studies confirm that the IQ of human beings has gone down in the last few generations. I believe it without question.

Think about it.


There is nothing intelligent about that.

And we can’t feign ignorance, not anymore. We know what we are doing.

We are a lung cancer patient continuing to smoke.

We are a dialysis patient continuing to drink.

We are an advanced species with the ability to reason acting in a completely unreasonable manner.

In other words:

We’re screwed.

Forgive me, but I needed to get that off my chest. Must be the smoke.

Carry on.

Me and Cosmo

The Author (on the right)




  1. We are screwed. And it’s so sad…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The planet is in a sad state and it scares me, especially for those after us. I can not imagine anyone not hearing the alarm! I am sorry your conditions have been so extreme. Summers are not the same as when I was a kid and I am right at sixty, too. I have a long way to go, but I am taking measures to live greener. It is about impossible with just the packaging of foods and necessities. I wish you well and hope you find some solution to make your life better. love Michele PS thank you for bringing this up, o remind all of us!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I keep hoping that the folks who have the great ideas about how to proceed will get hold of the reins before it’s too late.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a dark day in Puget Sound country but the right sort, with mist and clouds (real ones not just filled with ash and smoke). Hi Ilona. I hope you’re getting a little bit of relief this morning, the ocean air is starting to really push in up here. You’ve written so many thoughtful posts the past several weeks, I can just imagine you right now sipping coffee (or tea) and word smithing while Cosmo gives you a friendly, curious nudge or dose of late morning dog breath. I’m slowly catching up- I was just reading The Glass Pebble, which resonates with me because the boys and I returned home a few days ago from Lake Michigan country.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey good to hear from you TF. YES, things are much cooler and clearer today! What a relief. It’s frightening to think this is the new norm for us here in the PNW. Glad you got to visit the lakes region with your boys and get away from it for awhile. Hope to see a few of your delightful posts about it in the not too distant future.


  4. “My attempts at reducing my ecological footprint have been paltry”. That’s me! *sigh

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess we just keep trying. I have managed to live without plastic wrap for a while now…baby steps!


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