Hazy Shade of Summer

August 15, 2018

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Last week, the smoke was from California. This week, it’s from British Columbia. No matter which way the wind blows, it seems that the summer skies of Seattle are hazy from West Coast wildfires.

So far, it’s not as bad as last summer. At its worst last year, a fine dusting of ash landed in Seattle. You could see the normally invisible spider webs, traced in thin gray pencil between the branches of trees. This year, the worst we’ve gotten has been blood red sunsets and sharply reduced visibility.

This afternoon, I took the kids to the beach club. Because of the smoke, you could just barely make out Kirkland on the other side of the lake. With just a little squinting and imagination, you could ignore the far shore and pretend we were at the edge of an impossibly still and vast ocean.

Smoke doesn’t make it any less fun to spend a day at the lake. Patrick and I splashed and swam in the shallow water. (Now that it’s mid-August, Lake Washington has finally progressed from “cold enough to make you question the existence of God” to “brisk and refreshing.”)

Alex was lucky enough to find another knot of rising 7th graders, which means we barely saw him — just glimpses as he tried to balance on the spinning log or as he clambered up to the high dive platform. When Patrick was ready to leave, Alex wasn’t. We left Alex at the beach with his friends, and he walked the mile home by himself two hours later. To be in middle school, carefree, with friends by a lake in the lazy late days of summer… one of the pleasures of parenting is living vicariously through your kids. Today delivered a glorious reminder of the best that summer and youth can bring.