The clean fresh country air

This isn’t my gonna-shock-your-socks-off post. I’m still putting that off working on it. This is a complaint about my new(ish) home state and how I think it’s basically trying to kill me.

You know how everyone in the cities talks about how wonderful it is to get out from under the cloud of smelly exhaust fumes and other urban olfactory delights and into the countryside where the air is fresh and clean? Let me tell you right now these people are full of it. They’re not full of shit, though — that’s because they don’t live right next to farmland where every spring they spread fertilizer, and not nice chemical fertilizer either. Nope, most of the farms around here either seem to be Mennonite farms or organic farms owned by former hippies, and they use “natural” fertilizer. I drive through about twenty-five miles of this stuff twice a day six days a week, and my car’s elderly ventilation system is no use at all. Right now I have two air-fresheners in my car, so at least the poo smell has notes of Fresh Linen and Lavender-Vanilla on top.

And that’s not all. Many cute, furry animals live around here. Oh, I hear you thinking, how wonderful! Everyone likes cute, furry animals. Well there is one cute, furry animal whose sudden addition to the endangered species rolls would not bring a tear to my eye. That’s because I’ve already had my tear ducts ruined by the cloud of fragrance this creature exudes. That’s right, I’m talking about skunks. I have yet to see a live one — but I’ve seen, and smelled, many dead ones along the road (again, my car’s ventilation system just gave up and died). There was, however, at least one live one roaming around in the alleyway between the building I live in and the one next door. I had to close my window. I live on the second floor.

And then there is the plant life. See, I’ve finally moved some place with Classic Spring and Classic Autumn. Both seasons here are gorgeous. In autumn all the trees are multicolored, the air is crisp, yadda yadda. Spring is ethereal, the trees are misty clouds of pink and white and yellow. And so on. And both seasons have found me coughing and hacking from constant post-nasal drip. I live on cough drops. I reek of menthol. I read somewhere that spring in the southeast is worst for allergy sufferers, but in the northeast autumn is the bad time. Virginia is about halfway between southeast and northeast, so I get it coming and going.

Excuse me. I’m going to take some Benadryl and suck on another cough drop. At least last night’s skunk has not returned.


4 thoughts on “The clean fresh country air

  1. For what it’s worth, I’ve an acquaintance who swears by locally-produced honey to combat allergies.

  2. Sounds like you’re ready for AZ, or maybe Vegas?! Get’s kinda hot, but I suppose you had that in FL.

    Back when I lived in the Shenandoah, any drive more than a few miles usually averaged at least one dead skunk in the middle of the stankin’ road. When you get out into the country, some folks like to kill groundhogs and drape their carcasses over the top of the fence (sometimes lined up in various states of decay). Talk about your trophy stand …

    I’m guessing you get the pleasure of driving past factory chicken or turkey farms. After the factory farmer has loaded up the trucks with his latest crop, he (or she) opens up the sheds, scrapes out the used litter and piles it up for future fertizer use. Just think of it as the smell of money – at least, that’s what the farmer has on his mind.

    • Not only do I get to drive past the chicken and turkey farms, I work in a cold storage place where they store the freshly (and sometimes not so freshly) killed carcasses. (I work in the office, but it opens right onto the warehouse where the birds are packed away.)

      I haven’t seen the dead groundhogs draped on fences but I’ve seen plenty dead ones on the road, along with the aforementioned skunks, squirrels, rabbits, and in two separate cases, deer.

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