Monday Blues: Burning Eyes, Burning Lungs

The other day I was doing some loops at Bonelli and had climbed up to a point overlooking Pomona, and the 71 heading toward Chino Hills. Due to a thick soup in the air I couldn't see beyond Pomona, and those hills south of Chino were a mere dark shadow fading to obscurity in the enveloping grey. Back in the 1960s and '70s, if you lived anywhere between the San Fernando Valley and Riverside / San Bernardino, and were in the middle of, or had finished up a day that looked like the photo above, it was probably Summer or Fall, hot, and your eyes were likely burning. You also probably found it difficult to suck air very deeply into your lungs. You don't easily forget those days.

That was then, this was now, and the only thing burning in the now were the muscles of my legs. While I am sure there was some smog mixed in, on this day, most of that grey was fog pushed in from the coast. Anyone who was around then, and is still around now, will tell you how much better off things are now, noting a marked decline in summer day smog alerts. When I read about efforts to defund the agencies whose mission it has been to clear the air, and efforts to deregulate the very measures that have made it possible to push myself without the accompanying burning eyes and lungs, lets just say it makes me effing mad; there is no conscionable excuse.

With clear evidence (pun intended) that the work of regulatory agencies have benefited our health and well-being we should not now be seeking to weaken them; the past is what we should strive to advance away from, not circle back to.

Blue: A color, a mood or emotion, a genre of music. Tune in on occasional Mondays for more installments of the Blues, with a cycling twist.


  1. Well said Michael. I have very clear memories of sitting on the couch on summer evenings in the 60's after spending all day playing with friends while swimming in our or their pool. I would be struggling to breath and my lungs were quite painful.

  2. Thank you for this perspective.


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