Today marks Day 9 of the Big Cougar Fire, the smoke from which dominates my landscape and my air. The fire now burns along the Snake and Salmon Rivers, tracing the Idaho, Washington, and Oregon borders.

Yesterday my eyes and throat smarted as we stood outside visiting after church; my lymph nodes felt like incipient pumpkins. I was entering my third week of severe allergies, mostly sneezing and congestion.

I have lately been turning my thoughts (unfruitfully, I fully acknowledge) to the great and the mediocre nations of our world–a world that seems to be sundering all over again, reliving ancient, and also uncomfortably recent, horror dramas. And so, I was unaware for seven days that lightening had set off a forest fire, currently 50% contained and burning 65,000 acres, whiffing-close to my own neck of the woods, on the Washington side of the mighty Snake.

The smoke has been terrible today; even inside our tight house I am exhausted as if encompassed by fumes. It’s taking Beconase and Allegra for me to get anything done but sneeze and keep score at basket-tissue-toss, my daytime and nighttime sport these days. I’m pretty good.

The hills are in and out of view, depending on how the wind and smoke volley. Thunder rumbled overhead a short while ago—it could bring more lightening, possibly touching off another fire–or it could bring rain. Please, Lord: Let it rain. . . .

A 12-mph wind now masters the air; the thunder has subsided, the air pressure descends dramatically. Rain is likely to fall.



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