Wednesday, April 04, 2007


YELLOW DUST

A couple of evenings ago I looked out the high windows from the loft for my usual fading-light view of the Lake and noticed that the air was not only a bit mistier than it often is at dusk in Spring, it was also strangely colored; the unsettling yellowish-orange tint to the air reminded me of LA back in the fifties and sixties, but this had no eye-sting to it, no nose-burning odor.

The next morning I went out to go to work and the morning had a yellow tinge to it; what's more, the black seat of my motorcycle was now yellow. Then I remembered all the yellow days in Tokyo back in the seventies when I lived there, the kousa days that came in early Spring, when the high winds lifted up the dust from the Gobi Desert in China and blew it all the way to Japan. I hadn't noticed it this far south before, but here it was, dusting everything a light yellow, including me. The dust is ranging further lately, reaching all the way to Hawaii this year. And apparently the recent Spring winds from China are carrying more than dust.

5 comments:

Annette said...

When I lived in Milan we used to have some yellow days due to wind coming from the south, carrying sand from the Sahara. But more often than not the yellow particles melted into the carpaint are particles of iron that detach from the nearby tramways. Wonder what my lungs look like...

Val said...

Oh annette, we have had the Sahara dust as far north as the UK, but somehow it has a pink hue by the time it gets to us - which isnt very often. And it usually falls with the rain, so pink rain! Glad it doesnt happen often.

Chancy said...

Here in Atlanta, Georgia we have had the "yellow dust" of a different variety for about 10 days now. The pollen count has been as high as the high 5000's for many days and over 150 is rated extremely high.The pollen is from pine trees and also oak beech and several others.

But yesterday and today we had some wonderfully heavy rain which is washing away the yellow stuff.

Glory be.

Annette said...

Come to think of it, Krakatoa enhanced the colours of the sunset world wide, even as far away as Norway: http://www.mrp.txstate.edu/mrp/relations/news/news176_dmn.html

Sure happy that pollen is not spread that effectively, and so I should have some more weeks to prepare for itchy eyes...

Anna said...

Here in East Anglia we have the Fen Blow - black earth from vast open fields. Fussy housewives have to dust at least four times a day.