It's 57 degrees out right now, and I looked out the window a few minutes ago to see...snow! Odd, thought I: it's awfully warm. So I took a better look, and sure enough, white stuff was falling very lazily from the heavens. Really gently falling, like the first few flakes of what will become a Storm To Remember. And I've seen 50-degree temperature drops in a single day, so I don't know, maybe it is snowing.
But the sky is crystal clear.
So I went downstairs, opened the door, and confirmed what I'd already begun to suspect since standing up: fire. And fire in this neighborhood almost always comes from the same source. After standing on the porch just long enough to tarnish the smell of my clothes, I ran up to the attic room and peered out to the southwest, where to my utter lack of astonishment, I saw the perpetrators throwing their trash on a fire whose flames easily reached 6' to 8' in the air.
Now, we all generally accept that fire is pretty much the mortal enemy of civilization, more so than floods, snow, or any other major element. Fire destroys without discrimination, and leaves NOTHING in its wake. So I did what I've done numerous times before: I called the police.
When I explained that these wondrous folks were disposing of their trash on the pyre, the operator didn't pause a second before saying "I'll send the fire department." Burning trash is a big no-no in Henrico County.
Seeing as how this is probably the 4th or 5th time I've had to get the fire department dispatched to that house, the owners have become clever. The truck showed up, I pointed them around the corner to the fire, and the folks doing the burning said they were "cooking". Turns out if you have food and say you're cooking, you can burn all day long without consequence. As long as your trash isn't sitting in a big pile right next to the fire.
So my neighbors are cooking cardboard boxes for dinner tonight. I wonder if I'll get an invitation.