This morning I woke up in a foul mood. I’m not entirely sure what set me off. Before I even got out of bed, I told myself today was going to be a good day, even if there was nothing planned, well except work, to necessarily guarantee such. But then, as soon as I was upright on two feet, those good intentions were given a good beat down by whatever part of my mood that just wasn’t having it.

Actually, I think I do know the cause; although it might seem a bit ridiculous. For the last week, the area I live in has been beset by wildfires. In fact, this is considered one of the worst fires in California history. The Station Fire has burned over 140,000 acres (roughly the size of Chicago). The mountain range that I’ve grown up next to is barren and black. I live a mile south of the base of the mountains where this is all taking place. Far enough away that I never need worry about being evacuated. But the massiveness of the fire has produced such intense smoke that I, like most people around here, have had to keep all the windows and doors of the house closed for the better part of the week now. Add to that 100+ degree days and you have all the makings for an air quality designation of “hazardous” and horrendous.  

Every day, I make it a point to be outside at least a couple of times. Whether to take the dogs out, to read, to work on my laptop, or to just sit, I crave fresh air. So, I think the lack of it and the fact that I’ve been cooped up inside for the better part of a week now just did me in this morning. There’s nothing like stepping out onto your porch first thing in the morning and smelling the air before you’ve even taken a breath. These days the air is putrid and thick with ash. You can see the little specks of ash falling around you as you stand out there. It covers everything–plant leaves, the porch swing, the car. The murky rust sky and mountain line shrouded in smoke only serve to complete the effect. You don’t want to be outside.

And that’s really starting to get to me.

So, knowing that I have a lot to get done today, I decided to call a do-over on the morning. I went back to bed. Yes, I had work that needed to get started early, but the reality was I was going to be useless if I tried to work with that mood. I would start making mistakes. I would have no focus. And the fact that I also get incredibly clutzy when I’m in such a mood would only make things worse.

The solution: I went back to bed.

For 90-minutes, I lay in bed listening to some music and just zoned out. It was the best thing I ever could have done.

Yes, my day is going to be longer now because the things I’d hoped to get started early have now been started late. But maybe they’ll get done with a little less misery. Even if I still can’t take a deep breath.

Update: With only 3 hours left in the day, I can honestly say today was a good day. I was productive and got work done. And it was a tad cooler today, even if the air was just as gross as it has been. I think I may have to call a do-over on all days like today.

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