I remember standing on the cool metal at the top of the slide of our backyard swingset. It was tall enough that I could look out over the top of our house and see for miles... the few skyscrapers that were downtown, a small levee and overgrown trees to the south.
In the distance, men rode on tractors lighting the fields on fire behind them. Huge billows of black smoke trailed behind them, rising and diluting in the blue sky. The flames burned hot and fast, but extinguished almost immediately, after reducing the dry stalks. Small, black ashes drifted in the currents of the wind and I tried to clasp my hands around them. The burnt remnants curled and flaked in my fingertips and left behind a smoky reminder of their presence.
The smell of a wood fire today still reminds me of the end of sugarcane season.