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Bizarre and Surreal
Author: TriSec    Date: 07/27/2021 11:34:01

"Wow folks - I don't normally comment about the weather on the tour unless we're about to be hit by a thunderstorm. But look across Boston Common in front of the trolley - that's not haze; I just saw it on the news, that's smoke from the fires in California and Oregon".

I'm not sure how to link it - but take a look at this tweet. There's a 13-second timelapse video that shows how quickly conditions degraded in Boston yesterday.

This photo was taken from the top of the Hancock Tower, looking towards the southwest. The other two buildings are just about 3/10 of a mile distant further down Boylston Street.


We've had western smoke reach us before. Last week we had some, but it stayed in the upper atmosphere and provided a whitish haze far overhead for days. I'm not sure what the weather difference is that is causing it to settle over the region. I could literally see it swirling over Boston Common, and many fire departments took calls about it yesterday.

It is not without precedent, though. Centuries ago, an even more bizarre event took place across New England.

New England's Dark Day occurred on May 19, 1780, when an unusual darkening of the daytime sky was observed over the New England states and parts of Canada. The primary cause of the event is believed to have been a combination of smoke from forest fires, a thick fog, and cloud cover. The darkness was so complete that candles were required from noon on. It did not disperse until the middle of the next night.


Since communications technology of the day was primitive, most people found the darkness to be baffling and inexplicable. Many applied religious interpretations to the event.

In Connecticut, a member of the Governor's council (renamed the Connecticut State Senate in 1818), Abraham Davenport, became most famous for his response to his colleagues' fears that it was the Day of Judgment:

I am against adjournment. The day of judgment is either approaching, or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for an adjournment; if it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish therefore that candles may be brought.

Davenport's courage was commemorated in the poem "Abraham Davenport" by John Greenleaf Whittier. Edwin Markham also commemorated the event in his poem "A Judgement Hour", found in The Gates of Paradise and Other Poems.

I have written previously about how disconnected the United States has become. However - given that the fires causing our local phenomena are 3,000 miles away - it actually proves how interdependent we all are.


11 comments (Latest Comment: 07/27/2021 20:13:43 by Raine)
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