I smell them in the evening, as I walk our Jack Russell Terrier around the neighborhood, and few things stagger my olfactory nerves with such a wallop.
They're bonfires, and folks are having them all over the place anymore. And that's a good thing.
We sprung for a nice, stone-framed fire pit this spring, in anticipation of those cool evenings when you'd just as soon be outside next to crackling wood than inside watching TV.
There's something wonderfully intoxicating about gathering around a fire, in your own backyard, assembling some gooey s'mores or turning an impaled frankfurter over the flame. Or just sitting and staring at the orange, yellow and blue that emanates from the burning wood.
You can get awfully relaxed looking at a fire. The worries of the day magically leave you. And the smell, meshed with the cool autumn air, makes you feel like you're camping in the woods.
The fire experience reached its apex for us as a family in late August, when we vacationed near Port Huron. Our beach resort had a fire pit, and our daughter fixed a roaring gem around dusk. By nightfall, all you could hear was the crackling of the wood and Lake Huron lapping up onto the beach. Above us were stars that went 180 degrees, horizon to horizon. The moon was in the sky overlooking the water, casting a beam of light that went across the lake from beach to horizon.
It was heavenly.
I love smelling the fires around the neighborhood at night, walking the pooch. It's funny about things that burn. If they're not supposed to be burning, the smell can be awful. But if it's a planned, controlled burning, then it's positively inviting.
I like having my bundles of wood nearby---like a security blanket. Lets me know that the flames will be carrying on for quite some time; all I need to do is reach in, grab another log, and pile it on.
All that wood we go through, and the next morning it's nothing but a pile of ash in the pit.
A drawback to the bonfire? It makes your clothes (and sometimes your hair) smell like smoke.
A small price to pay, I say!