The telephone poles around the city are cloaked in thick, matted layers of paper. It's like a geologic time scale of advertisements. There is a limit to what anything can withstand and the exceedingly bulbous stems of the telephone poles lining Pine Street near our office have about reached their maximum protuberance.

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The circle of life.
The circle of life.

The paper is being shorn away. At first glance, it seemed normal, just the cycle of life and decay—you know, day-to-day stuff. But, then I caught a whiff of smoke. Years of training from the wizened Smokey the Bear (which is the longest running public service advertising campaign, wouldn't you know?) had me on high alert.
Sure enough, the clumps of pulp were charred at their edges.

CHAR
CHAR

A wisp of smoke curled delicately in the air, impossible to capture on a feeble iPhone 7 camera. Who was intentionally burning this paper? Or, accidentally burning this paper? Even putting aside a smoldering cigarette on an unused stack of paper can lead to absolute mayhem these days. There's a burn ban in effect. Our state is hot and it is dry and most of it is on fire.

Please do not light the public paper on fire. Especially around our office. The building is very old and I don't trust it to withstand any sort of disaster, natural or man-made.

Please stop burning things!