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The Smog Moves In: As It Unfolds

The Smog Moves In

As It Unfolds

By Skye

A few days before Labor Day

First came the wind. It started calm, but got wilder and wilder. It started to howl. It blew things around. Knocked over huge trees. One of them damaged the library building. Then it was windy and dry. Then it was windy and dry and hot on top of that. Perfect fire starting conditions. The dryness and the heat spark a fire. The wind inflames it. The fire gets bigger and bigger, wilder and wilder. It’s nowhere near our house. But little do we know, that the effects of it will soon reach us.

September 7

Labor day


Me and my dad are having a great time at his office. On our walk there, there were sticks, leaves, and all sorts of other bits of debris. But when we get to the office, we have the best time ever. It’s way more fun than it sounds, by the way. It’s just filled with fun activities, and electronics stuff of all kinds. Including, unfortunately, thousands (at least it seems like it) of cables of every type. Once we needed a nine-volt barrel plug, center positive, and he somehow miraculously found one. Well, I’m getting off track. We’re pretty much having a great time. It’s so fun!


After lunch, we have even more fun! It’s so fun! But the second we get outside, the light is orange… That’s a sign of bad air quality. We put on our masks for the rest of the way home.

Evening (after dinner):

The air quality is climbing higher and higher. We watch as it quickly climbs higher and higher. First it’s in the 60s. Then it’s in the 80s. 90s. It starts to reach into the 100s. 160s. 180s. 190s. 192. 194. With each time it increases, our stress levels are climbing up too. 197. 204. We stop checking.

September 8th

If you ask me if it changed overnight, the answer you will want to hear is: “Yeah! It cleared up all of the way. It’s only 14 now!”

But the answer you will get, if I’m going to give you, if I’m telling the truth, is “It got way worse”, unfortunately. It got pretty high, into the 300s-400s. It even got bad inside. Thankfully it’s only downstairs, but still. We started running our air purifier on full blast. It didn’t help very much. At least it’s way better than it is outside.

Hi! I know this is a diary article, but I think the author is going to pop in for a second. That’s me! For a full week after the smog moved in, it was bad downstairs, and we basically lived upstairs for a bit. We hardly ever even went in the hallways. It was terrible. I’m going to call that week The Week of Isolation. Now, enough of me talking. Back to the article!

The Week of Isolation (approximately)

Day 1: (also approximately, the author (me) doesn’t remember it very well) (by the way, today is a Tuesday)

It’s pretty intense. All day I’m in the office room, or my bedroom. I still have to do school work. How exciting. Even though we are super stressed out about having to stay upstairs all day and all night, it’s still a little bit fun. But why? It feels like living in a hotel. Well, back to why it’s fun. First of all, we eat our meals upstairs. It’s like having room service in a hotel. Second of all, I do my schoolwork upstairs. It feels so good to finally leave my desk downstairs. Third of all, well, who doesn’t like living upstairs? It just feels different, almost new.

Day 2: (Wednesday)

Pretty much the same as yesterday. I woke up just as normal, but I remembered a few minutes later all of yesterday’s (fun) events. I sigh and move on with my day. I rush into the office room, (a.k.a the guest bedroom that we never use, a.k.a the room that I am doing my schoolwork in now that we live upstairs) get my mask, go downstairs, and make myself breakfast. I go back upstairs and eat. Yum, grape-nuts parfait! So good. It reminds me of when we used to be able to live both downstairs and upstairs. Ah, I miss those days…

Days 3 and 4: (Thursday and Friday)

Not very exciting. Same as days 1 and 2, mostly. Woke up, ate breakfast, did schoolwork, and a bunch of other boring stuff.

Day 5: (Saturday)

Finally it’s the weekend! I mostly just locked myself in my room (my door doesn’t have a lock, but you know what I mean) for the whole day and played on my phone. And yes, my parents let me. In the morning, me and Dad watched an episode of Star Trek. I had never seen Star Trek before! The episode was called “Encounter at Farpoint” and the crew of the USS Enterprise travels to Farpoint station and—wait, why am I telling you this? You are supposed to just watch the show and figure it out yourself! Well, anyways. It was very fun, and I liked it a lot. Then, we played this neat game called Donut County, where it’s kind of a mystery. Whenever BK delivers someone a donut, they get sucked into a hole…

Anyways, sorry about that short advertisement break. Back to serious stuff.

Day 6: (Sunday)

Pretty much the same as yesterday, and almost as fun. It’s not as fun as yesterday, because–and I hate to say this, but–I’m actually starting to get tired of living upstairs! I wonder when the smog will move away…

Ok, me again:

The Week of Isolation has finally ended! But life doesn’t get back to normal quite yet… Back to the story.

September 14: The Day of Surprise

I woke up this morning thinking that today was going to be a (pretty much) normal day. But really, is living upstairs and shutting yourself in your room 24/7 normal? I don’t think so. At least not for me. Well, anyways, I’m getting off track. The point is, it’s not normal. I got up, ate breakfast, did schoolwork, had lunch, had a class (which was pretty fun), and did a bunch of other stuff, before the afternoon.

But in the afternoon, Mom walked into my study room, and said to me, “Skye, I have some news.”

I said, “Good news or bad news?”

“Well, it depends on how you think of it.”

“Just tell me!”

She sighed. “We are going to escape the smog,--” she added a dramatic pause “--and go to Denver.”

My brain did some quick calculations as I tried to remember where Denver was, and after trying to decide whether it was The Dalles, Oregon or Dallas, Texas, I remembered Denver, Colorado.

“Really? When do we leave?”

“Our flight leaves at 5:45, today. Pack your suitcase.”

I rushed to my room, where I found a suitcase waiting for me. I packed it.

Ok, sorry to pop in, (again), but I just wanted to say that I don’t really remember the rest of that day very well. All I really know is this:

Our flight from Oregon to Seattle to Denver, the Oregon to Seattle part got canceled, so Dad drove us up to Seattle. I played on my phone on the car ride. When we got to the airport, we wanted to make sure we really stayed safe from Covid, so we didn’t do a cloth mask. We did an N95 mask with a cloth mask on top and a face shield on top of that. It got super stuffy, but it was worth it for staying safe. It turns out I actually wore it for at least 5 hours in a row. When we finally got to Denver, it was almost 1:00 (at night!). I don’t think I’ve ever stayed up this late in my life. I slept so well that night. It felt amazing.

Unfortunately, for that week after, I still needed to do schoolwork. Even though we were last-minute traveling to Denver. But I got through it, and when I got back home, I was so happy. There really is no place like home!!

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