I spent three months on a project in Shanghai in 2013. The Air Quality Index in Shanghai during that period was always “hazardous.” So, we spent a lot of time indoors and never opened the windows.
In hindsight, that time was a gift as it helped me appreciate fresh air in a way I hadn’t till then. Ever since, I’ve always been a proponent of keeping windows open wherever I am and generally choose fresh air over air conditioning when I get a chance.
For a few days last week, I was reminded of those months as we experienced poor air quality due to a bad forest fire near where we are. The air cleared up on Wednesday just as we headed into thanksgiving weekend and, in doing so, gave us another thing to be thankful for.
While the fire gave us plenty to think about from the standpoint of climate change, I’m going to leave that discussion for another day. For now, I’m going to give thanks for the ability to open windows and take in fresh air.
It is one of the many gifts we have that we tend to appreciate most when it is absent.