The Sweet Smell of Wood Smoke

Smell is a funny thing, triggering the most powerful of memories, both sweet and foul.

This is my own personal blog-- it is not the opinion of anyone else, the station nor my family. Just me in my blog.

As I drove into work today, I passed a constructions site near the Torch rest area where someone is burning brush.

And it's not just a one time thing, cause they were burning yesterday as well. The plume of smoke is tall and obvious against the blue sky today.

As I drove past the screen of trees where the operation is underway, I was greeted by the familiar smell of wood smoke, and I smiled despite myself.

I associate that smell with good things, camping, boy scouts, fireplaces, skiing, and cabins heated by firewood.

It's a pleasant smell, but not everyone agrees.  Nowadays, we know that all smoke is carcinogenic. That means, it's a pollutant and can only fowl the lungs and cause problems in high enough concentration.

But the odor drifting on the breeze is a pleasant one for me. It's funny how some smells can trigger such a response over the years.  It's been more than 50 years since our family camped together, and 40 since I was in the boy-scouts.  Still, my mind goes back there, to ski trips to Timberline over the last dozen years, just by getting a wift of pine bows burning.

Unfortunately, we see this industrial scale slash and burn as a sign of progress, when a contractor is clearing a lot for development, and it always makes me wince to see those trees and wood go up in smoke in a large commercial incinerator.  Surely there are families that could use the fossil fuel to help heat their homes...except the wood isn't cured yet, and would have to season and be stored, and then be hauled, and stored... far more effort than the slash and burn contractor wants to put into the project.

So, it's a double-edged sword when I see the plume of smoke rise above the treeline along Route 50.  What do you think?  Should they slash and burn or not?


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