For millennia, folks have been burning garbage and “stuff” with relative impunity. The smoke was often choking. And sometimes toxic.
But. . . . as a kid, I remember my father – and other men in my neighborhood – raking leaves in the fall. And ushering them out to the street – at the curb – and lighting them up. Saturdays and Sundays in October were the optimal days for raking, gathering and burning leaves. And the distinct smell of burning leaves was overpowering. And – from my recollection – not so unpleasant. Everyone burned their leaves. I mean what were families supposed to do with them? My dad would stand – smoking his pipe – and talking with the other men. As the leaves burned. . . . .
I tend to think it would be nice if for one day in the fall, everyone could spoon some dead leaves out to the street. And burn them. Like the “good old days” (did I really say that?). I don’t need a “bad for the environment” speech. Or “think of what it did to your lungs.” Or “aren’t there regulations?” Just think about sharing an indelible olfactory moment of those autumn afternoons long ago . . . . .