Posted in Canada

Miasma Is Acting Up

Left Coast Smells Like Toast

I live in a roughly rectangle-shaped Canadian province bigger than California (British Columbia) that consists of towns and cities, interspersed by mountains, forests, and a dash of bears. Situated to the left is a huge body of water, which provides us with a temperate climate. Thanks, Pacific Ocean, for giving us our precipitation which, in its haste to make us all wet, occasionally falls sideways.

Unlike California, however, we are much more sparsely populated, and not as many of us shop at Whole Foods or own monkeys.

Every summer, however, lightning strikes and errant cigarettes cause wildfires in the interior of the province. This results in the smoke of these fires drifting over to the coastal cities, to hover over us like a malodorous eiderdown. Each year is worse than the one previous – not unlike the Transformers franchise. It has been like this for many weeks now,  a haze in the air carrying with it all the toxins that the Surgeon General warned us about.

Miasma Is Acting Up

We are told that the resultant toxic miasma is the equivalent to the smoking of 7 cigarettes. My sister (she has an awesome brother, but is quite formidable in her own right) quipped that it was only a matter of time until the federal government started taxing us for those free cigarettes we are smoking. That line, as they say, had legs, and I related it to all and sundry to varying degrees of dry chuckles, which may have been due to the particulate matter in the air.

Vancouver. Cloaked in a sexy smoky shroud. You can tell a lot about a city by how it wears its smoke.

In any case, all vigorous outdoor activity has been curtailed, since the air quality is in the ‘danger’ zone, especially for the elderly and those with existing respiratory ailments. Those of who love to run outdoors (me and roughly half the population of Vancouver) must now run inside like mad hamsters, until the air quality goes back to normal. That is, when we are only breathing in the exhaust of thousands of Humvees and Escalades vying for dominance.

Avian. It’s What’s For Dinner

The decreased visibility has grounded aircraft, resulting in more airspace for birds. They are enjoying a respite from being sucked into the fuselage of airliners. As we creep into fall, and the wildfires are brought under control, the avian carnage will once again resume.

It beggars comprehension how a flock can negotiate through such an impenetrable cloud. Some say they use the earth’s magnetism, using a mineral called magnetite that is located above their beak. That seems to smack of junk science to me, and I prefer to think that the flock leader uses an Internet Cafe wearing a false beard.


Zombie Apocalypse Imminent?

Is this tied to global warming? Will we all be sporting bandannas and be indistinguishable from bank robbers? Will this warrant a Netflix series, starring Nick Nolte as a grizzled fire chief? Nobody knows. Now I must return to my hamster wheel.

Thanks for reading about our little ‘crisis’ – may your visibility be limitless and free of carcinogens.AIN



I am a Sansei, with two teens, and a hamster. This blog is a repository for ideas and observations, expressed in cartoon form, by and large. A bit of a journal too. Feel free to follow me on INSTAGRAM @ WILTOONS, (the Twitter for people who like to go out) where I post a journal comic. Thanks for dropping by! The pic is of me and my boy Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits. (not really a fan but he wanted his pic with me) © Wilton Sugiyama and Wiltoons, 2009 to 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Wilton Sugiyama and Wiltoons with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. So there.

10 thoughts on “Miasma Is Acting Up

  1. The worst is not the rain, or the heavy rain, or the sideways rain – it’s the winter-cold, heavy, sideways, unending, torrential, spiteful rain. Just sayin’.

    1. That IS the worst, I stand corrected. Each drop like a cold slap to the face. I work outside part-time and get to experience it firsthand.

    1. A poor pun, I admit. Gloriously, some rain HAS fallen, dissipating the smoke, and extinguishing many of the fires. My question is: Precipitation, where were you earlier in August?

  2. The smoke in Regina from the Saskatchewan and Alberta fires is thick when the wind blows it in our direction. The horizon disappears in the grey haze.

  3. These fires seem to worsen every year. I believe we will invest in some masks for next year’s onslaught. Hope you see your horizon soon. Thanks for the comment Candice.

  4. I grew up in an area that had fires almost every year too (but in Australia). It always smells like burnt toast, you are correct.

    Hope the situation improves soon :/

    1. Looks like the fall season is going to squeegee all that foul smoke away – hooray! But now I may need to smoke and jog given that that’s what I’ve been doing this past month!

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