The fire pit is our last relic of a time when people would gather to exchange ideas, pass down knowledge and actually have conversations. In an age when smartphones, texting and tablets have taken center stage, it is refreshing when communities gather around the fire pit.
In my hamlet, we attempt to have a fire every weekend to allow those in our community to come over and share a story from the week gone by. I have even fired up the pit on cold winter afternoons. Granted, we don't do this on windy days or when it is still 90 degrees out at 8 p.m.
The fire pit should be a "gadget" that every community and block should have. Neighbors can get to know one another and families can interact in real time -- and not through a social-media outlet. I say unplug, relax, meet a neighbor and have a live conversation while enjoying the crackle of a fire.
CHRIS LUND, HAMBURG
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Back-yard burning can create a significant health risk for the increasing number of people who deal with respiratory conditions every day ("Is there really a burning need to own these products," Letter of the Day, July 23).
As someone who has asthma and is very sensitive to smoke, I have often had to flee my garden when neighbors started an outdoor fire or wood-burning barbecue -- my throat and lungs immediately react. I then race to close any open windows to try and keep the smoke out of the house.
I do understand the appeal of a back-yard fire -- of enjoying it with friends and family -- but what of the cost to our environment, to the air we breathe, to our planet?
LINDA CAMPBELL, ST. PAUL