This week's post is going up early because at 7:30 am Friday I'll be on my way in to oral surgery. All four wisdom teeth are coming out; the bottom two are partially erupted but don't have enough room to come farther through, and the top two are impacted and pushing the other molars out of alignment. I'm getting general anesthesia, which has me pretty skittish right now... You're going to stick a big needle in my arm and make me pass out? For over an hour? And I'm supposed to trust that everything will be fine. So, so, very not okay. Pray for me? I know, intellectually, that it's not really a big deal and thousands of people probably get anesthesia every day and are just fine... but that knowledge isn't really helping with the emotional response.
Matt is more optimistic than I about the coming weekend and Little Bear... If anyone has suggestions for handling an almost-walker while you're on Vicodin recovering from surgery and anesthesia, I'm all ears!
I am well convicted of the folly of my complaining about the heat yesterday... I was effectually saying, "The weather could not be more miserable," and so of course I had to be corrected today. The heat didn't go away, but a dense pall of smoke settled over town last night from a wildland fire an hour or so south of us. A nice breeze picked up mid-morning and eventually dispelled most of the smoke, fortunately: we had planned to go to a pig roast at some friends' house this evening, and wouldn't have been able to if it was too smoky.
We were fortunate to have such a clear June, honestly. Because the snow stayed so long and then melted all at once, everything was saturated longer than we could have reasonably expected, and it's only logical that our past few weeks of abnormally hot weather and constant sun have dried things to the point of wildland fires catching easily. There are currently 99 wildland fires active across the state, and they are catching quickly: 22 were reported yesterday. The fire south of town is still far enough from the highway that it hasn't been closed, but the fire service warns travelers to expect long delays and is providing pilot cars to guide motorists through areas with heavy smoke.
Still, the heavy onset of fire season has been rough; we heard about some of the local fires from our pastor this evening--he also serves as chaplain to the local fire crew and state troopers--and it sounds like they have been working around the clock. He was glad that the borough is banning even the sale of fireworks for the Fourth of July, because with everything so dry, having hundreds of people heading out to lakes in the woods and shooting off fireworks is just asking for trouble! For those who have some fireworks saved up from New Years or last summer, please, wait until we've had a good week of rain... Fireworks are fun, but not fun enough to justify risking our firefighters' lives if the sparks get out of control!
Alaskans aren't the only ones with non traditional names for the seasons, right? I know that some college friends from Michigan referred the warm part of their year as "construction season." You hear that here, too, but the first time the smoke from a wildfire rolls into town, many folks will start referring to summer as "fire season" as well. So in Alaska, we have: Winter, Breakup, Construction/Fire, and Hunting Season.
On Saturday, we will celebrate the feast of Sts Peter and Paul, a solemnity! It is a holy day of obligation for the universal Church, but is not observed in the United States or Canada (or a number of other countries). I wish we could attend Mass, but I don't know that I'll be physically capable, and none of the parishes in our area celebrate daily Mass on Saturday, only the Sunday Vigil, so it would kind of count but not really. A piece of trivia for you: this solemnity is the day that newly-created archbishops receive their pallium from the pope. The pallium is a band "three fingers wide" woven from white wool which rests on the shoulders on top of the chasuble; it signifies their authority and union with the Holy See. Traditionally, the pallium is only worn for extraordinary events and exclusively during the liturgy.
Have a lovely weekend!