Weather Report

This morning, porteros were busily, ineffectually sluicing dust blown from the Sahara off Madrid’s doorsteps. The meteorologists tweeted: “don’t go to the car wash yet.” A friend says “End times.”

Otherwise, here in Madrid, it was business as usual. Half the pedestrians on the street were wearing their masks, even though masks are no longer required outdoors. Billboards at bus stops announce: We stand with Ukraine. Produced quickly — we’re only 18 days into the invasion.

Dust blown from the Sahara. Dust blown from Des Moines or Brownsville doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. But Africa? Now that fits these momentous times. This year, I’ve stood adjacent to death, birth, leavetaking, pandemic and war. Why not feel powdery orange Saharan dust coating my lips when I lower my mask on the street?

The name of the storm carrying the orange dust: Celia.