Before the Fires

Living amidst forest fires, a hundred of them in the area, has been a fascinating experience. Our air quality has been fluctuating between "unhealthy" and "very unhealthy," allegedly worse than certain industrial parts of China. 

As someone who's spent most of her life in large cities—indeed, I grew up in Moscow back when cars used lead exhaust—I'm no stranger to pollution. Yet, I've certainly never gone swimming outdoors when the environmental agencies advised against rigorous exertion. It sounds silly, but I didn't even consider how all the smoke particles in the air would affect hard-working lungs, especially in the water. 

A mid-lake coughing session later, I shall wait for Mother Nature to clean up its a little and go back to looking more like the images below, so I could finish this season with a few more open-water sessions.