Lifestyle | Philosophy | Stargazing

Several Fires Left in the Pile

I lit a Sunday evening fire outside on the brick patio last night. This is two Sundays in a row, almost a trend. Last week was bear in the woods fireside Sunday. This week no such excitement, just the observation that the days are getting shorter and colder. If I were a bear I’d be finding a nice place to hibernate deep in the woods. Hopefully someone else’s woods.

Last night began with reading outside in the fading twilight. This time of year that’s earlier in the evening than I’d like it to be, but the side benefit is it gave me the inspiration to gather pine cones and fallen branches to start a fire. Living amongst the trees we have little reason to use fire starter blocks or crumpled up newspaper to start a fire, and yet I opt for the simple route too frequently. It was good to get reacquainted with starting a fire without assistance from manmade products. I conceded the lighter instead of flint. I mean, I’m not on Survivor here.

With pine cones and kindling crackling and erupting into a small fire, I gathered firewood of various sizes, assessing the size of the wood pile and calculating how many more fires I’ve got in it before a refresh is required. My math tells me about 30 Sunday night’s worth. Unless Tom comes over and takes command of the fire stacking, in which case we may have half that number. Tom likes a big fire. And with the cold air creeping behind I see the benefits myself and stack this one a bit taller than normal as a nod to warmer glows and good friendships.

Stacking firewood is an act of faith. You expect to be given the time to use all that wood and start a new stack. All we can do is prepare for the future, we aren’t guaranteed we’ll arrive at the party. But so far we have. Surely a cause for celebration. Since we’ve been given this opportunity, why not make the most of it? I add logs to the fire and watch it roar in appreciation. And I in turn appreciate the warming glow.

Fire established, a dram of scotch poured, and playlist rolling, I read I few pages more and put the book aside. There was nothing more to do but contemplate the work accomplished over the weekend and the objectives that lie ahead for the coming week. What will the week bring? Tasks accomplished and boxes checked? Conversations with people of substance and depth? What can I control and what must I let wash over me? Such are the thoughts of a fireside chat with yourself.

My son came out and joined me. We talked of his own plans for the week ahead. He brought a flashlight out, just in case that bear should crunch through the woods again. No such luck this day. Instead we tracked the planets pirouetting across the sky: Bright Jupiter and Saturn with a faint Pluto to the south, red Mars rising in the east. The cold descended on the backyard and I added two logs to the fire and a wool hat to my head. Soon my bride joined us and we talked until the pile burned down to glowing embers. Another Sunday evening, and several fires left in the pile.

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