Woodsmoke in the Hills

As we drove through Oregon, traveling the I-5 corridor, we marveled at the heat haze. It was dense enough to obscure the horizon, and even turned the nearby hills a dingy brown. What else could it be when its 100* degrees outside for a few days in a row?

Smoke.

Specifically, smoke from the wildfires raging through Northern California. Intellectually, we know that state boundaries are lines on a map, but even though we knew about the fires we never made the additional connection that the California border was only 14 miles south of Ashland.

The air smelled like woodsmoke, and it was incredibly dissonant — woodsmoke belongs to crisp fall or cold winter days, not sweltering, sweaty midsummer days. It turned the sky the color of a chicken’s brown egg — J. says it was the color of Donaldson’s Sun of Pestilence.

It began to clear, or the wind shifted, in the evening, and although the air was still heavy with smoke it wasn’t as aggressive. After the sun went down, in fact, it cleared quite a bit and cooled off.

Fragment of a dream . . .

It’s the last image from a fairly long dream involving a house full of people.

A tall, beautiful black man said to me, “I watched you sleep for awhile. Did you know you sleep with your hands clasped to your mouth? It’s like you are praying when you sleep. An angel you are indeed.”

I awoke with a song in my head . . . was it ‘Send me an Angel’ (any version, the original by Real Life, the cover by The Scorpions, or the infinitely superior cover by Zeromancer)? No. Nor any other ‘Angel’ song . . . it was Suncreem’s “God Heard You Talking in Your Sleep” which is a perfectly nice song, but far and away not their best.

So, God, what did I say?

Allyssium!

Small white flowers, bunchy green leaves . . . my favorite groundcover, and perfect for growing in containers full of otherwise taller plants.

This year I planted a bunch of allyssium from the nursery, but also bought a couple of packets of seeds (as well as a packet of delphinium seeds) because I wondered if could grow my own. This is, btw, the seductive power of gardening. The weather’s been cold and I didn’t get around to planting any when I planted my containers a couple of months ago, but I did take advantage of a warmish day (above 60) last week and sprinkled the seeds into the top layer of dirt in a variety of containers that were looking sparse.

Lo and behold! Sprouts!

pictures to be posted later — gotta wait till morning to take them.