The amber glow hints of dusk as the sun sets somewhere on the horizon, or is is the early morning hours as the sun is just beginning it’s ascent to welcome the morning? It was neither. This picture was posted just after noon time on September 9, 2020 and my best guestimate was that it was snapped between 8 and 11am. That is because on that day and particularly that morning there were numerous shots of my beloved Bay Area with that same eerie hue. You see, the sky was so smoke filled from fires ablaze all along the west coast that the oversimplified explanation is that the blues light wavelengths which come from further up in the sky were blocked out. The fresh air that we take for granted in Northern California, has been a stranger to our lungs for more days than not for well over a month now.
For fitness enthusiasts, the challenging air quality has been just another factor to manage in our pursuit of sound mind by way of sound body. I taught my last, in person, indoor fitness classes on March 16 and learned that afternoon that a Shelter-In-Place order, due to Covid-19, was in effect immediately. The gears in my head started turning and I put together a plan and was teaching virtual classes the very next day, March 17. I’ve been blessed to have my students support their physical well being by adapting to this new way of working out with me. Yet, there are those, and I absolutely to my core understand where they are coming from, that just don’t “feel” the same about taking a class via a screen. I missed them so much. I needed to find a way to make it work. So when I was able to concoct a plan for outdoor small group workouts, a committed group eagerly jumped on board. Several weeks in, a thunder and lightning storm more reminiscent of Florida, set Northern California ablaze. Shortly thereafter, it seems the entire west coast was a fringe of fire adorning the rest of the country, burning so fervently that smoke traveled all the way across to the Northeast and the way the media played it, “as far as New York”. As of the last couple of weeks, the heroic firefighters from all over the country have gotten the west coast fires contained. That meant that we could once again head into the open air, knowing that we should not take the opportunity to breathe, lightly. It seemed especially satisfying working out with my group this morning. I came home grateful and exhilarated, attended church online, and then decided to check air quality forecasts. Another fire in Northern California… as of this writing, there are two. So I pray for those in the fires path, also for those on the frontlines. Also, I remember…to be grateful. And with a sigh, doing so with a deep breath, as I slowly expel that wonderful air from my lungs, I remember to not take having fresh air for granted.