Wednesday 16 October 2013

Lake Water and Smoke

We had a cold fall rain last night. It wasn’t much of a rain storm, in fact you might just call it a shower, but it was close to freezing and it was touch and go if we were to have our first snow of the season. There was snow south and west of us, but we avoided the white stuff for now. It is only a matter of time before I am more concerned with shovelling snow than I am with cutting grass.

I guess the added weight of the rain was too much for a lot of the leaves that were still attached to our trees yesterday, because when I awoke the front lawn was covered with a blanket of yellow/green leaves. It’s better to have them on the ground than on the branches, it’s a lot easier to rake them into piles this way. I miss the smell of burning leaves at this time of year. I guess if everyone were to burn their leaves it would have a toxic impact on the environment. I guess…
I remember all of the fires we would have at my grandmother’s cottage when I was little. We would start a fire on Friday night when we got to the cottage and it would burn until Sunday when we would leave. It would burn down to ash over night, but there was generally a hot coal or two that we could use to build a new fire. We got pretty good at starting fires first thing in the morning.

The reason we always had a fire burning is that the lake where the cottage was, was man made, and the area was never cleared before flooding. This left thousands of trees that made it difficult for boating. Everyone that had cottages had these fires burning in order to slowly get rid of all the logs. It took years and years, and if not for having to repair the dam and draining the lake, they might still be at it. That year was incredible! The men would make huge tepee shaped piles of trees, toss on a couple of old tires, douse it with gasoline and then toss in a match. Black smoke would billow from twenty or thirty piles every weekend that summer. I guess it was bad for the environment, but it is a sight I will never forget and I wish my kids and grandkids could see it as well.
We would also make huge piles of leaves that we would set on fire and it would my brother and my jobs to keep feeding the burning pile. Too many leaves and the fire would be smothered, too few and the fire might just go out. We also had to watch that the fire didn’t spread to the neighbour’s wood pile or his cottage. There were a few terrifying moments, but no people or buildings were lost.  By the end of the day we would smell of burnt leaves and would wash the soot off of us by taking a dip into the lake.

Sometimes, even now, just as I am dropping off to sleep, I could swear that I can smell a combination of lake water and smoke. 

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