Recently, on a great day on the coast of Hudson’s Bay, everyone in town was out picnicking, enjoying the final days of spring. As I ran about town picking up forgotten items like insect repellant and marshmallows and other essential items, I bumped into several friends of mine who had just come back from the fabled picnic areas of Great Whale River.

My buddy’s wife blurted out that they had just started a forest fire! Wow, I thought, this is a first for me, never met a pyro person before. Apparently, they had just set down their frying pan to fry up some juicy pork chops when a small fire started on the dry grounds. After some feverish foot stamping, nature got the better of them and the little flame spread so rapidly, that within seconds, it had spread to the nearby bushes. Minutes later, the trees caught fire.

Luckily, they managed to get back to town unsinged, but the fire spread and before long dominated the skies with black smoke. Soon, fire trucks headed down the dusty gravel road and all local firefighters were called into action. Meanwhile, I continued with the picnic plans and headed out on my trusty ATV. The road to the coast was soon cordoned off and no one could head further up the bay, so we settled on a nearby picnic site.

By the end of my picnic session, we all headed back home for the relative safety of town, where there is nothing really to burn except dry grass. But luckily the winds kept the now raging fires at bay. We all settled down for the night, as rain showers comforted us and sleep took over, but still, it was uneasily hot as the night air refused to cool down.

The next day, the family decided to check out the damage done by the forest fire. I stayed behind, begging to stay in the basement and hide out from the oppressive heat wave and observe the weather from the safety of my cool home. Hours later, I worried about the family as I saw thick brown smoke blowing past in the nearby hills. The smoke got thicker and thicker and I stepped outside to taste the smell of smoke. Strangely, there was no smell to detect and I ventured a few more feet from my porch.

Immediately, my exposed skin felt like it was being pelted by rocks and then I realized it wasn’t smoke that I was worried about, but a wall of blowing sand. Shades of the Sahara! A sandstorm! What next? Quickly I returned to the safety of indoors and immediately went to the washroom to rinse off the sand from my eyes and ears. Poor family, I hope they get back soon. The gusting winds howled like a drunken banshee on PMS and the house shuddered from the hurricane-like conditions.

My family soon returned, everyone looking like they hadn’t showered in decades. Sand was literally falling off their clothes and one by one, they washed their soiled faces. “Wow,” my little daughter exclaimed. Nonchalantly, I asked how the fire was doing and apparently it flared up again, this time with a vengeance. Oh, oh, I thought, not another evacuation. Bad timing to leave town as my bank account was practically empty and couldn’t afford an unscheduled vacation.

Suddenly, dark angry clouds appeared and torrential rain poured from the heavens, with rapid-fire lightning bolts screeching across the skies, searing the air with intense negative ions. At last, it was over and blackened and tired firefighters returned home, thankful for the assistance from above. Strange weather it seems, will bind everyone together.