Ah, the sweet smell of success!
The influx of new businesses, BYU students and athletic supporters (i.e., those who support collegiate endeavors, like football) seems to indicate that, at least growthwise, this valley is successful. And boy, does it smell!That's not an insult, really, but instead is a testament to the variety of smells encountered in Utah County, which goes a long way to explain this valley's character. Where else can you inhale exhaust fumes and the scent of wood stoves, fresh hay, cow manure, rotting ponds, bug sprays and even fresh air? And all within 20 miles of each other!
Just to drive the point home, let's follow our noses and take a nasal perusory perambulation of the county.
For example, driving from Salt Lake County into Happy Valley, the air is pretty much fresh and clean - especially in Alpine, Highland and Lehi. There are some rural parts of these cities in which you can discover the aromas associated with different stages of hay putrefaction.
However, upon reaching the larger cities, such as American Fork and Pleasant Grove, one is struck by the "industrialness" of it all.
That's not to say that these growing communities are bad, though. It's just a testament to the fact that many of the families living in these thriving areas are commuters. Sure, many families north and south of the area commute, too, but not on such a large scale.
Needless to say, the downtown areas have a slight air quality problem, at least to this writer's allergic (and asthmatic) sensibilities. There are lovely areas in both cities, however, such as P.G.'s upper bench, where you can take in a healthy, husky gust of air and not feel your chest tightening.
Going farther south, though, toward a certain industrial center, there is an interesting, if not pungent, steel-manufacturing smell. Is there an air quality problem here? Make up your own minds. Not wanting to get myself into too much trouble, however, I'll let this slide. For the time being, anyway.
One scant mile south a fragrance can be found that that is easily the smog's naturalistic equivalent. Just before the I-15 exit at Orem's 1200 South (which leads to both Utah Valley Community College and the University Mall), you may find yourself singing "Old McDonald Had a Farm" (just for scent-imental reasons).
Reaching Provo, you almost breathe a sigh of relief - before reaching the Center Street area, that is. Is this area too traffic bound? Could be. Taking the I-15 Provo Center Street exit, and heading west on Center toward Utah Lake, you can refresh with rotting fish and Solarcaine smells during the summer.
If you decide to continue south, you can feel refreshed and relaxed with the rotting pond and mosquito-breeding scents near Springville and Salem, as well as the truly country-esque smells that accompany the backroads paths in both Payson and Spanish Fork.
Should you get the impression that this writer is just full of hot air directed toward this innocent (and sometimes inoffensive) valley, it's probably true. Just remember that this writer was born (and lived for a short time) in California's smoggy climes, and upon finding himself unable to breathe, relocated to Utah. At least the air is a lot cleaner here - and it's conducive for learning to breathe with your nose closed.