When darkness falls


Saturday evening, I had the feeling of being in a time warp – twice.

When I stepped out of Kin 1 at about 8 p.m., I found it was almost pitch black outside. I immediately wondered if I had somehow lost about four hours and it was actually midnight.

Then I realized it was in fact just 8 p.m., and that this was incredibly heavy smoke from the fires that aren’t even that close to the city.

As I drove down Ospika, I noticed the streetlights were on and it was still only about 8:15. That was the second flashback, to a summer morning three years ago.

I was working at the Free Press, at a desk in the editorial department with no windows. I finished the story I was writing about 6 a.m., and decided to take a quick break.

I checked on Facebook, and one of my friends had a post from a few minutes earlier wondering what was going on outside.

“Is this an alien invasion?”

I went to the windows at the front of the building and looked out at almost pure darkness. The lights on the John Brink Building right across the street had come back on in response to the darkness.

That was why the lights on Ospika on Saturday night triggered the flashback.

A friend of mine said he had been out to supper with a friend. When they left the restaurant, they both, of course, noticed the thick smoke.

They started driving away, and a few minutes later my friend asked the driver, “Are your headlights on?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“It’s only 6 p.m.”

In winter, we hear all the time about driving to conditions. It’s something you should remember year-round.

And conditions are just on the roadway. They’re also in the air.