Monday, April 02, 2007

The Yellow Sands of Spring

April is the cruelest month, breading
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain...

And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
--from "The Waste Land" TS Elliot
Spring is bringing nature alive here in Korea. The trees are blooming, the greenery is beginning to grow and the ground, and its warming up. However, this weekend, I learned about the curse of spring in Korea: the yellow sands.

I have never heard about this before I moved here. The yellow sands originate in China's Gobi Desert and are best described not as sands but as dust. On Sunday, after a morning of showers, the afternoon cleared up. It was a great day. Then, I took a nap and awoke to an eerie yellow light outside. A yellow fog had engulfed Goeje.

I didn't think much of it. I just chalked it up to the change from a cool morning, warm afternoon, and moisture whatever. I did notice though that my throat was sore and I was coughing crud up.

Today when I asked the students how their weekend was they replied, "Oh, bad. Yellow sand." I did some research. Apparently they can actually be dangerous for people with respiratory problems. Mortality for affected areas goes up 1.7% during times of yellow sand attacks.

Below is a satellite picture showing the progress of a particular dust cloud. Maybe I should invest in one of those surgical masks that people here like to wear...

Never mind. I'd rather cough even to the point of coughing up blood than wear on of those masks.

I read a fellow blogger's take on the yellow dust from this weekend. He has some great before/after pics. She lives about 30 miles north of me but the view was about the same--I was just to clueless to take any pictures.

1 comment:

  1. About a month ago I walked outside to go to work, and the sky was this bizarre shade of orange. Thanks to spending most of my life in Wisconsin and Missouri, I'm conditioned to think that weird-color sky = tornadoes are coming.

    I found it odd, though, that the radio wasn't saying anything about storms, and when I got to work, I discovered that it was merely dust in the atmosphere. (Though it was bad enough to cause the airport to shut down for the longest time since 9-11.)

    Wah wah. Crazy Texas. I'll try to get a photo to share.


I appreciate comments. If you have a personal message to me, then e-mail would be best.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...