Living in the House of Smoke

I can’t go outside

3 min readJun 8, 2023

Yesterday morning those of us who live in the northeastern US were warned that even healthy people should not go outside because of potential toxic smoke from wildfires far up in northern Canada, a thousand miles away.

Our air quality index was above 300, which means very bad, dangerously bad (lower numbers are better, we should be at 50). New York City yesterday had the worst air quality on the planet, even worse than major cities in India and China where bad air kills thousands.

Here’s what the New York Times had to say this morning:

“New York City was filled with reddish haze yesterday, with its worst air quality on record. A Broadway matinee was interrupted when its star had difficulty breathing, and some nighttime shows were canceled. Pro sports teams in both New York and Philadelphia postponed their games. In Binghamton, N.Y., a meteorologist said that the area around him “looks like Mars” and “smells like cigars.” In Toronto, residents awoke this week to find a thick layer of ash near open windows.”

This is not like the smoky haze we’ve seen in recent years. That was high in the atmosphere where it made for cool sunsets. This stuff is different. It stinks. It’s like being downwind from a smoky campfire. Your eyes smart and wearing a mask starts to look like a very good idea.

This morning it has spread south and will affect the DC area, hopefully reminding climate denying congress members that…




Mastodon:, Writer, nine non-fiction books, two novels, Buddhist, train lover. Amateur cook, lover of life most of the time!