It’s gray. Clouds this time, not smoke, but the effect is similar. There’s a slight chance of rain tonight and tomorrow. It’s dry here in Saskatchewan and we could really use the rain. I fear whatever falls won’t be nearly enough, though.
Gerry and I are just back from a walk in the Wakamow Valley, where I captured a few images with the camera on my phone. One, in particular, seems to speak to what’s been on my mind lately.
What if I never experience a smoke-free summer again in my life?
As long as we remain living in Canada (which we will), I think the odds seem pretty good that will be the case. Summers in British Columbia have been awful in recent years thanks to forest fires and smoke blanketing the city where we lived. We didn’t escape the smoke when we moved to Saskatchewan, either.
What if my great-grandchildren never experience a smoke-free summer?
Gerry and I have talked about what it was like when we were growing up and neither of us can remember an extended period of fires and smoke such as has become the norm. I have no crystal ball, but gray and smoky summers have become the norm. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Day after day of gray takes a toll on one’s mental health after a while. As such, it seems counter-intuitive to convert photos I took this afternoon from colour to black and white, but that’s what I did and I like them that way. They remind me that there’s beauty to be found everywhere and in every situation.
This afternoon, gnarly trees along a pathway invited me to pause and capture the moment, and the textured images begged to be black and white. Colour can evoke certain emotions, but the lack of it can draw one past a surface glance into something deeper I can also appreciate.
I have no idea where things are going in the world, but I know the world that was, is no more. I could get caught up in that thought, and turn to despair. Or, I can do what I’ve professed is the better way all along. Tend my garden, care for those within my sphere of influence, and lean into faith and grace and the beautiful mystery that surrounds us every day.
And maybe, just maybe, learn to appreciate the beauty of black and white a bit more.