Sunday, August 23, 2015


As I write I see only the barest shadows in my backyard.  Shadows are growing long but just faint stripes across the yard.  Sunlight is way too yellow.  There is even a haze between the house and the back shed. 

On the other side of the house we’ve almost lost Mt. Nebo – rather a fancy name for just a ridge.  The ridge is about a mile away and borders my town to the south.  Usually I can look up and see the hillside full of madrones and oaks.   Today I can just make out its outline.  A few days ago it actually disappeared for a few hours. 

The West is in the middle of a harsh wildfire season.  I’m in no danger.  The fires aren’t near town, at least none right now.  A grassy field caught fire late yesterday less than two miles from me, but fortunately the fire department was close and soon had it out.  The nearest serious fire is at least 25 miles from me.  Most of this smoke is coming from the horrendous fires to the north, much of it 200 miles away in Washington State.   Most days the westerly winds blow the smoke farther east, but today the Pacific Northwest currently has an inversion, trapping wildfire smoke and putting us all into a dull grey fog. 
We drove to the coast yesterday to get away from the smoke.  Half way home the air was already smoky – unusual.  While driving along the Coquille Valley I spotted this crow flying near the roadway.  His blackness popped out against the soft haze in the distance.  I grabbed a little sketchbook and painted this mostly on my lap in the car.

Long before the sun set, it glowed red, and fuzzy red again this morning.  It’ll be red again this evening. 


  1. Great sketched of what's going on around here. That brush fire was right by us. Very scary. Could have been so much worse. The smokes sooo bad.

  2. Lovely painting of the "terrible beauty," Elva. The half moon was an eerie red last night here in Seattle, and the yellow sky is very strange, too.

    - Tina