The picture below is an un-edited photo of the sun near our apartment last Tuesday evening -- around 6 p.m. While it makes a rather pretty sky picture, the reason is not at all good because the dramatic tones are due to smoke from wildfires... and it has severely socked in our valley.
According to an article in our local paper (The Register-Guard, Thursday, August 31), wildfires in Oregon are burning an area equivalent to half the State of Rhode Island, affecting air quality throughout the state. There are two dozen fires in southern, eastern, and central parts of the state that have scorched a total of 571 square miles.
Because of the bad air quality, we have done no playing outside this week -- the rest of today's pictures are 'look-backs' and memories.
Our weather/climate problems are of course as nothing compared to last week's devastating hurricane and unending heavy rains on the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast. Damages are horrendous and the aftermath continues.
During our RV travel years, we spent several winter seasons in that part of Texas. The collage below shows just a few of our memories of those stays:
We stayed twice in Port Aransas and once in Fulton/Rockport, where Hurricane Harvey first made landfall. (The coastal towns are on opposite shores of North Padre Island, near Corpus Christie.) From what we have seen and read, it looks as if both are completely devastated and will take years to rebuild.
Our traveling home at Water's Edge RV Park, Fulton Texas, Winter 2006-07
As full-time RVers, whenever we stayed in an area for three or four months, we always considered ourselves to be residents. Of course, it isn't the same as it is for people who have spent their whole lives in an area, but it was long enough that we would felt at home and get to know the community far better than one would just passing through. North Padre was one of our all-time favorite areas and we have wonderful memories of both towns.
Travel certainly taught us a lot about our country and brought much joy -- but it also makes losses such as the one from this horrible storm more vivid as we recognize places being destroyed and remember them and the people we met.
Our thoughts are with all those in the affected area.
The bird below is a more recent memory, but was also on the Gulf Coast -- of Alabama . We saw this bird on our road trip home to Oregon this past June. I included it then in a collage of pictures from an evening walk we took where we stayed (Gulf Shores State Park). And I didn't even try to ID it ... but Eileen, our Saturday Critters host and my (blogland) resident bird expert told me in a comment on that post that it was a shrike! Thank you Eileen. (Most will know already, but Eileen's blog is VIEWING NATURE and it is HERE.)
Many years ago on a camping trip Bill showed me evidence of the way shrikes impale their prey, and I probably saw the bird too -- but that was long before I became really interested in birding -- so I'm definitely calling this sighting a first.
The flowers below came from a walk around town that we took when my sister and brother-in-law were visiting last week (after Eclipse Day)... they're part of a wall of hanging baskets in front of a Nursery.
We are hoping for more dramatic flowers and fewer dramatic smoky skies in September.
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