from hazardous to unhealthy.

The air in Spokane has gone from hazardous to unhealthy [not sure if that's supposed to be reassuring].

There is over one million acres of forest on fire in the Northwest. My aunt said the fire conditions haven't been this bad in a decade. Forest fires are completely new to me. I actually still don't know what the protocol is for being evacuated as a result of fires. All I know is that people are advised to stay inside and not do any deep breathing meditation outside. I have noticed the temporary symptoms: throbbing headache, burning eyes, and congestion. I've seen a few people with dust masks but that doesn't protect you from some of the unhealthy fumes.

I spent the last week with my family in Helena, Montana. We were able to get a little bit of wakeboarding in before the smoke rolled into the Big Sky Country. My aunt and uncle own Kim's Marina on Canyon Ferry Lake [book your vacation now], so after my parents left I spent a lot of time in the marina. Since Montana is so far away, I have only been able to visit about every five years. I'm happy I was able to spend quality time with my grandparents and other family members.

I've heard there is a beautiful view driving through Montana and Northern Idaho. I wouldn't know because you could only see the highway. When I arrived in Spokane I braved the smoke to:

buy food...

and play with the puppies at my Airbnb...

It has also been a great excuse to veg and watch Netflix like a normal human. The highlight of my visit to Spokane was seeing where my parents met. Their love is unconditional and something that I strive for in my future. They lived across the street from each other on South Adams Street. They were best friends who fell in love and have been ever since. I'm looking forward to sharing their love story, it's a good one!

Phoebe Axtman