The smoke is blowing somewhere else, today, so yesterday's blood orange sun is back to lemon and clouds and someone else is choking on swamp turning into light and ash and air. I worry about making my flight tomorrow to go watch my son take his turn across the stage for Lehigh's graduation ceremony, that little square-hat dance. Roads open and close depending on the winds, and we'll have to get in the car at 3 AM and drive into it. I'll have to get in the car and worry about what I might run into running away from it all, because all that life has to go somewhere if it is to avoid becoming light and ash and air. The swamps here can be marvelous and beautiful, quietly spooky, cypresses laced with Spanish moss, alligators, turtles, and pike swimming around the cypress knees, snakes curled up in trees, frogs flipping like dimes into dishes at the county fair. When the swamp dries, it becomes the worst sort of biofuel and can burn for years. Permanent signs on highways say "Possible Smoke Ahead," but my imagination wants impossible smoke.
We'll get in our car and drive into it, and end up in Philadephia where nothing's burning, exactly, though Philly fans are starting to smolder. We'll get a slice at Lorenzo's and avoid the famous cheesesteak stands and then make our way upstate for a city that burned itself up and out long ago in fires of industry and capital, where my son's on the verge of, the fulcrum of, becoming an engineer, the future ahead for all of us obscured by smoke and the fire we're turning the world into.