Yesterday morning I woke the smoke in the air very visible, even though I was a seven hour drive away. I busied myself getting my things ready for for heading home today. After a. Shower and relaxing, I was planning to go have a coffee with my sister, when outside with Pheobe that piece of me that my mom taught me to pay attention too kicked in. In a matter of moments my plan changed, my gut instincts were telling me I needed to head for home. I couldn’t pinpoint why, but it was coming through clear and strong. Normally if I am travelling I start out early in the morning, it was already 10 am five hours past my normal start time to travel. I loaded my car, stopped at my sisters momentarily and then headed off.
I knew that the situation at home is what they were telling us would be a catastrophic weekend where the fires are concerned, but Friday, they phoned my specialist wants my tests done Monday morning, I have other medical appointments throughout the week.
I have driven this drive a thousand times, I’ve been driving it since I was 16 years old, but yesterday’s drive was unlike any I have taken over these roads. I wasn’t sure if I would go all the way or part way, I was just going to go by how the day was. When I left Fernie, it was smokey, I was surprised driving how thick the smoke was in different areas, none the less Pheobe and I were enjoying the drive, our first stop was at the the the peaceful Little Rock gardens in the woods to place my memory stones in the memory garden, I made one for my husband and my mom while I was at my nieces. My supplies were limited, but nonetheless I am happy I got to place them in the garden, we spend time in the creek the water so clear, cool and beautiful, I even got Pheobe into the water, and soaked her down, she didn’t even mind, so I think it was a welcomed cool down for her from the heat. A nice walk through the forest and a energizing rest, the air was good there, off we went, and we didn’t have to go far to be in thick smoke again, the Kootenay Pass enveloped by smoke. The traffic was almost non existent, it appeared people were finally heading the orders to stay away from our area. Temperature were varying, a pleasant 25 / 26 Celsius, for the first part of the drive.
The areas where fires have been recently very visible and one area that on my way there, had a lighting storm as I drove through apparently a fire started, you could see the retardant dropped by the planes and the scorched trees along the road side, the retardant was now on the road. The difference in a week. It saddened me to see the fire damage. The temperatures took a steep jump to the 30’s , but with lighter traffic we were able to stop and stretch and have cool off periods in the provincial parks that are normally too busy.
Christina Lake was completely socked in, the lake barely visible, and we were now into the hot temperatures, my air conditioning not working, of course my main concern would be my dogs comfort, my common sense told me I needed to ensure she could stay cool, so I stopped and bought a block of ice, placed it in her car seat with her, it only took her a few minutes to realize this was a welcome addition, so our windows down a hot smokey breeze and a dog cuddled up to a block of ice, we continued on, stopping every hour to stretch. It was such a relaxing drive despite the heat and smoke, it was eerily quiet on our normally extremely busy highways this time of year, so we were able to relax and enjoy. The hours slipped by as did the miles. We stopped in a little town of Beaverdell at a roadside food outlet and enjoyed a piece of pizza each, Pheobe loves pizza, a walk a stretch, water and heading off for the last stretch to home.
The smoke became increasingly thick, as we were headed into the last little stretch the lakes that normally welcome me, we’re not visible, it became so dark, not dark like night but a dark I hadn’t ever seen before, my headlights came on, it was surreal, it felt war torn, Vernon was hidden from view by this thick thick, grey, orange, thick smoke, it was disorientating. I cried as I drove into town seeing my town like this, knowing the next few days could be worse. A silent prayer driving those last few minutes. Getting home everyone in my building was waiting for me, as I drove in I could hear the chants, christine, christine, they were there to welcome me home. They are what makes it hard to change living arrangements. A hot shower, a chat with another friend who lives here who also has younger onset dementia, we talked about how it’s effecting us, and those effects are real, it’s a lot for our brains to try to process, it sends our brain going into high drive. These events, are causing an inability to concentrate, to focus, to control emotions, high anxiety, short fuses, and people without dementia are feeling those things but they are magnified for people with Dementia. We are trying to be supportive of each other through this. I am grateful that she came into my life.
A hot shower and we were off to bed where we slept a good 9 hours, waking up the air is better at the moment, although expected to worsen as the winds pick up today, so the next day or two will be wait and see, embers are falling my car is covered, my tests first thing tomorrow morning, and then wait and see, I am ready to go at a moments notice if I need to, and if my doctor advises that I need to go again I will.
I can’t imagine what all this continuous stress is going to do for people but I am focusing on getting through on day at a time, not apologizing for being emotional and sensitive, but being positive that the other side of this good things will come.
we have the added stress of covid increasing new restrictions, but truthfully that pales in comparison to the stress and uncertainty of the fires. I’m going o repack and add some treasures to my emergency kit, while I’m home.
please stay well, stay safe, be kind, kindness is such a needed gift to provide others.