forests fill the sky
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, they say
and all around me is grey.
The hills are obscured by haze
the acrid scent of it bites my nostrils
creates an ache in my throat, until
I want to go anywhere but here, where
there is fear of fires leaping valleys
razing the city. July in BC, seems to mean
burning bushes, without any sign of divinity.
The enviro activist
pointed to the sky
decrying ‘chem trails’
she blamed for the clouds,
as she triggered my asthma,
with her cigarette smoke.
Today a group of my students were interviewed for an upcoming documentary about living in a small town. It was interesting to hear their feedback after the experience. They wondered if the interviewer was trying too hard to ‘connect with the youth of today’ by “dropping f-bombs in every sentence” and telling them that she and her friends had taken acid in the 90s. They weren’t impressed.
In the staff room the other day, we were commenting about the kids in the smoke pit. At our school, it is an area about eight feet square, marked by cement barricades a couple of feet high off to the side of our entry, just outside of the parking lot (and therefore, presumably not technically ‘on school grounds’). There are maybe a dozen kids who hang out there off and on over the course of the day, though I’ve never seen more than six at any one time. There are around five hundred students at our school. The teachers were discussing how ‘once upon a time’ the smoke pit was packed, and it was full of cool kids. Now, the kids in the smoke pit are the losers, generally looked at with disdain by the other kids.
I can remember teaching in Prince George, where probably a hundred kids stood in minus twenty, being cool, and smoking. Once, they watched a moose wander past, and then get shot by conservation officers. The smoking area was always lively and crowded, murdered moose, not withstanding.
Not these days. It seems that kids are getting the message about healthy living. They smoke less than their parents and grand-parents. Since according to experts in the workshops attended by my ex-social worker spouse, the real ‘gateway drug’ is tobacco, does this decrease of activity at the smoke pit mean kids are less likely to graduate to harder drugs, and therefore less likely to find themselves popping acid by the train tracks like the interviewer, who’d attended this school a decade ago?
I don’t know, but I hope so. I’m really happy they weren’t impressed by her stories and foul language. Whoever says youth are getting worse isn’t keeping their eyes open. Personally, I like what I see.