Sunday, August 10, 2008

Essential Fire


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.

3 comments:

Monkey Boy said...

The camp-fire as a metaphor for life and all those other things we hold dear to ourselves – our families, hopes, dreams and friends. They too need watching over, nurturing, feeding with the wood and kindling of kindness, trust and hope. When they are small we are almost afraid to share them since any dividing might snuff them out before they can stand on their own but once they are full grown their light and heat can illuminate and warn all of those around us. We should all continue to build as many camp fires as we can, but more importantly we should share them with everyone we meet and as each camp fire is put to rest its embers finally extinguished we should rejoice that we have the opportunity to make new fires in the hearts of all our newly found friends.

ww1fly said...

I have heard that modern television is the analogy to sitting around the tribal fire- a central place of light and story telling- however, television isn't interactive in that sense and requires no creativity and social skills. And whether it's in a fireplace in one's comfy home or out in the wilderness, there is a certain sigh the soul breathes when the kindling has caught fire and the logs start to burn- then you feel like you can relax and enjoy....

Kathy said...

Monkey boy...beautifully said. Thank you.