I miss the smoke
I was raised and lived a good chunk of my life in Kentucky. In that time I have I lived in cities big enough to have several nice size collages and one city that our house was one of four in the whole thing.
High school was the time in the small four house town and I remember it for many things but the biggest is what I miss now. I had a 73 Ford Maverick and as bad as I treated that car with my fool stunts it kept going and going. As I was lucky enough to have a car during my senior year I also had the pleasure of driving backroads throughout the county doing things that you could not pay me to repeat (although I do brag about them now that the statute of limitations is up on much of them).
But when the nights were cool and I drove with the windows down I experienced something most city people miss. The smoke of a hundred wood burning stoves giving off their own individual scent.
It was a buffet of odors. Was the wood green or well seasoned? Was the wood pine, spruce, or oak or one of another dozen regularly cut down trees? Were they burning it hot with a blower attatchment or had a low smoldering fire to keep it going all night as they slept? Maybe the person worked in the coal industry and brought some coal chunks back for his multi-fuel stove? Was the air so heavy that the smoke stayed near the ground and "aged" just for you?
Each drive through Kentucky on a cold night was a parade of aromas. I don't think it is possible to properly describe the pleasant nature of those cool night drives and the memories that linger on to this day.
I live near Nashville now and most people heat and cool with electricity and they are the less for it.
Once in awhile, if I'm lucky, I pass a house that still heats by wood. If the wind blows just right, and my windows are down, I am sent back in my head to a certain 7 mile stretch of road between the county seat and where I lived in Kentucky and I'm back in my old Ford Maverick.
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