Tuesday evening, just before the sunset, I stepped outside for a post dinner Bear walk. It was the final act of a perfect spring day, just before the night shift kicked in.
A gentle, but steady breeze was blowing in from the Gulf of Florida. You could track it's direction by the scattered puffy clouds that rushed by on their way inland.
In short, it was the kind of low humidity, mild temperature evening you'd kill for during the steamy summer months ...
... with one big exception.
The normally sweet air of PFHQ had a distinct paint thinner/varnishy smell to it.
(Note, this was before any Coast Guard burning of the slick)
I stopped on the stone walkway and sniffed left, right, left, right.
It was everywhere.
Now, where PFHQ sits, deep in the Nature Coast woods, I can't smell anything my neighbors do ... short of burning down their homes ... I could probably smell that if the wind was right.
... AND there is nothing wrong with my sniffer.
The smell was everywhere on our extensive walk and at the time I wondered if it might be coming from the oil spill in the Gulf.
After all, the wind direction was right and the oil slick had been baking in the clear sunny spring weather for days.
My guess was the volatile components of the petroleum were evaporating ... essentially a natural version of what a refinery does in a fractionating tower.
I pondered it, but did not mention it to anyone.
Yesterday, a Gainesville Sun article headline about a "Strange Smell" caught my eye, so I clicked.
Sure enough, the article reported that people in Gatorville were reporting an odd chemical smell and that even folks in Tampa had noticed it.
Last night I mentioned the article to Junior as he sat internetting while I cooked supper.
Before I could get very far, he interrupted me saying that he had smelled it also and he described it as smelling like wood finish, before I had ever mentioned what I thought it smelled like.
So, the question is ...
Did you smell it?