Currently, there are four major fires burning west of where I live. Reno is a desert basin surrounded by mountains, a valley that is a great bowl of sand, with the majestic Sierra to the west and south, and the ‘purple’ Pah Rah mountains to the east and north. Living between two mountain ranges creates some beautiful scenery, except when forest fires rage, the wind blows east and the bowl fills up with smoke. We are on day six of hazardous health conditions. Friday our air quality was worse than that of Beijing’s. No direction offers escape. West is toward the fires, east is the direction that the wind is blowing, and north is a traffic jam of burners. This week-end kicks off Burning Man. On Friday the stores in Reno were crawling with burners stopping for supplies before they made the final leg of their pilgrimage to the Black Rock Desert.
While I can not escape by car, there are some other ways to find respite from the smoke. For one thing, I won’t be ending the summer with a BBQ. It will be a long time before I grill again. I’m very tired of the smell of smoke. Another way to refresh my smoke-caked palate is with a light, crisp, Semillon, originally a blending grape used in white Bordeaux as well as botrytised for a sweet Sauternes, Semillon is made in the sweet and dry versions in Australia. Hunter Valley is known for their Semillon. Tyrrell’s Wines in Hunter Valley Australia makes a light(10% alcohol,) dry, Semillon with a lovely lemon flavor and just a subtle hint of herb. Very crisp with no mineral undertones, it’s a great palate cleanser and perfect on a smoky night like tonight. It also goes really well with fish, cooked indoors, nowhere near a grill.
I hope the burners enjoy a week full of art and creative energy, but opt not to burn the Man out of respect for Yosemite, and those of us living in Reno. I think we’ve all had enough burning.