Sunday, October 25, 2009

"An ode to a paper mill"

Too long at sea? Perhaps you'll think so. With apologies to Joyce Kilmer’s “I think that I shall never see, A poem lovely as a tree,” I composed a few verses at about 2 a.m. last night in Georgetown, SC. Then the wind finally shifted again! ZZZZZZZZ

I think that I shall never sniff,
On land or sea, a stronger whiff,
As paper mills make grocery bags,
A shifting wind can make me gag,

But menhaden plants win the prize,
For bringing tears to my eyes.
Then of course there is the head,
For raising sailors from the dead.

“The smell of money” they always say,
As if that sends the smell away.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only man can make sailors flee.

Paper doesn’t stink. Trees don’t make me gag. Cut pine has a wonderful holiday smell. Even sawdust has an agreeable odor. So why do paper mills, especially those making Kraft paper, usually emit such unpleasant aromas? It’s the chemicals they treat the wood pulp with that produces that awful sulfur gas smell.

The EPA finds these odors are a "nuisance" but not a health concern at “normal levels.” But when you’re anchored out near either a paper mill or a menhaden plant, and the wind shifts, it can make for a restless sleep—and an early departure before breakfast.

Now I discover that SC has more than 40 paper mills! I remember well the scent in Hilton Head on many of our visits there with the "kids" and my parents--when the wind was blowing from the "wrong direction."

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Pete & Mary Ann! We're in Mrytle Beach. Stopped in Wrightsville Beach, Mile Hammock and Southport. Maybe we'll catch up with you soon!
    Skip & Harriet