Outside, summer's heat wave fills the heavy air. Concrete hotter than an oven's floor zaps your energy with each forward step. It's like a broiling vacuum. All of this is normal for summer in Southeast Texas, except for the absence of rain and presence of smoke.
The Texas drought has gone on way too long, and forest fire danger looms in the near distance. It creates pseudo-clouds in the sky and tickles the nose with a burning firewood aroma. Yesterday I was driving all over hell's half-acres: one direction for swim team practice; another for Math & Science Academy; this way for dance recital practice and TaeKwonDo lessons; and that way for Vacation Bible School pick-up and other sundry errands that need to be done. I felt like a frazzled commuter as I zipped from one highway to the next in a hurry to pick each child up at the right time because Pete was in a four-hour long class. ~sigh~ It was exhausting.
The highway warning signs that just days ago alerted travelers of hurricane season now read:
"Extreme forest fire conditions"
... (or something very similar). Every day another fire breaks out. They seem to be creeping closer to my territory, and it's scary. Firefighters, paid and volunteered, risk their lives to fight the flames in temperatures of 100 and more. Several have lost their lives.
So when I saw Mr. Rickety-Truck Dude toss a burning cigarette out his side window, I nearly gagged to death. I wanted to honk at him and flash my lights. Or stop and wave him down. Better yet, go look for the fuse and put it out myself. I didn't though, because I couldn't. My precious cargo was with me and I never want to trigger road rage from shady individuals.
Instead, I'm begging you to spread the news instead of the fire:
PLEASE DON'T LITTER THE GROUND WITH BURNING CIGARETTES: THEY JUST MIGHT KILL
...in more ways than one!