Sunday, August 10, 2008
Jasper, Alberta, (~2,800 miles traveled) Its dusk and Maya and I have just finished our nightly walk around the campground. I’ve been spying tonight (ok…maybe I’ve done that once or twice before….but no more than that!). I’ve been spying on the other campers, but tonight, I did so with clear purpose. I want to know about their campfires. What kind of people build these great blazing pits of warmth and comfort? I ‘d like to know. In fact, I think I’ve wanted to know all my life. Oh, I’ve managed the cheery fire in the household hearth. It looks good. I guess it creates a certain ambience and all…but no one is really counting on it for anything. I mean all the houses I have lived have central heat. But the real thing…in the great outdoors, for cooking and keeping warm, and sharing a good story or two with friends..… has eluded me. I build them. Some of them even look impressive at first. But they eventually all suffer the same fate, some sort of smoldering, fizzling, campfire wannabe that eventually dies out. Can’t cook with them and certainly can’t use them for warmth.
So here is what I saw tonight. People with great fires have all sorts of camping equipment, in all sizes and colors. Some are in tents, some in RV’s (even the rented ones that have those obscene 1-800 RENTRV on them). Most of them had a good supply of neatly stacked wood. They had tidy camps…..and someone was always tending the fire. I have a suspicion that there is something else that just doesn't meet the eye...I may have to do more spying...!
As I write this entry, I’ve built a fire. I am watching it right now, tending to it. I have put to the test the elements that seem to be essential…here they are:
1. Start with your intention (building a big, warm fire)
2. Gather the necessary elements, start small and build upon success
3. Watch over it …be attuned to what is needed, adjust as necessary
4. Don’t be stingy with the wood
5. Sit back, relax and enjoy every second
6. When its time to go, make sure its completely out, smoldering embers are trouble.
I’ll keep you posted regarding my success. I have lots of time to work on this…after all building and enjoying a great fire is a journey.
Those of you out there that are proficient at this…please feel free to e-mail or comment with suggestions.