Monday, September 20, 2010

Now That's A Fire

I've been fascinated with fire for as long as I can remember.  As a kid, I lived for fall hayrides and the bonfire that followed.  I'm an expert at roasting marshmallows to an ideal gooshy-but-not-burned state.  I spent a long night in the Sigma Chi house one weekend in college talking with people and playing with various forms of fire.  I was always the one tending the fire at our New Year's weekend getaway.

Fire is good therapy.  Like a living thing with a mind of its own, fire does what it wants...but, like all mindful things, it can be influenced and molded.  It can be coaxed back to life again:  if you love it just right, you can recreate it from the embers.  It's dangerous and beautiful and utterly fascinating.

It's also a lot of work.  I have two fireplaces in my house and I've barely burned fires in either of them.  I rarely build fires just for me (although the Monkey has requested that we have "warm and toasty fire nights" this winter).  I think I have this notion of a burning hearth as something romantic...something to be shared under a blanket with a special someone.  It also requires having some supply of wood handy....which can be a show-stopper.

I asked for a fire-pit for my birthday/Mother's Day, and the Monkey and his dad came through in fine fashion.  Reid put it together for me while he was here in July...but, summer being sweltering enough on its own, I hadn't burned it until this past weekend.  The Monkey spent a big part of Saturday "breaking up sticks" from our wood pile in the back...and we loaded it up Saturday night and watched it burn.

It was a clumsy attempt.  The fire lacked any sizable logs to sustain it.  I hadn't prepared the hot-dog skewer before I started the fire.  The Monkey and I had to split duties to keep it going long enough to roast our dogs:  me in the back trying to pull more wood out of the pile in the dark...him trying to navigate the dexterity required to hold two hot dogs evenly over the flames.  It was his first time doing it, and I couldn't be there to coach.  We had the experience...but it wasn't quite as enjoyable as it might have been.

Next time, we'll do it better.  He's already starting to gather wood for our next go at it.  I know now that I need to assemble the cooking things before I start the fire...and I need at least one big-ish, slow-burning log so that we can just sit and relax and watch the flames dance while we eat our dinner.  I'll have the s'mores ready before we start...and maybe something hot to drink and a blanket nearby...just in case.

 I think there are going to be some excellent fires in our future.

No comments: