(Something needs to be placed here before August ends.)
On days when the wind is blowing the right (or wrong) direction the veil comes over all the city. If it is particularly bad, the haze, the news stations go into alarm mode, informing us helpfully of how visibility has dropped to 3 km, 2 km, 500 m.
(How long is all this anyway? The length of the slightly curved road that is between your apartment and your lover's, is that a full kilometre? Does it strain you to run the distance, or any equivalent distance?)
For those of us who walk the city is so dense that visibility tends to be one street anyway, except upwards. This is how you know the haze to be serious - you can look into the sun without strain in your eyes and the sun itself seems swollen, leaking into the space around it.
How far are we from outside places?
We are walking, in the western portion of the city, when you sniff and look around. 'Is it burning paper, or am I smelling haze?'
'It's probably the haze, yes.' Almost without effort the wind is bringing us bits of other islands where the fire is not just in the sunset - the smallest, lightest bits that we can discern.