Fire good

Flickering light and healing

I don't really have much to say about this last couple of weeks except I cleaned out the fireplace and ash dump.

Then I built a fire.

For me at least, there is something very comforting and very primal about a fire.

I can remember when I was a kid with my grandfather and grilling catfish over a fire with a skillet full of biscuits. Or skewering dove meat chunks with my cousins and cooking that.

Some of the best sex I have ever had has been in front of a fire.

And there is nothing like watching the flames for hours.

One of my favorite and most effective rituals is keeping vigil in front of a fireplace.

I just needed to center myself. So I hummed and rocked and keened and grunted.

It helps.

When I was a kid, there was one Thanksgiving that my grandparents were stranded with us at the folk's house during a snow storm. My grandfather appointed himself Keeper of the Flame. He moved wood from the woodpile to the patio so it could dry off, then to the hearth. He kept that fire going for five days straight. That was when my grandfather taught me to bank a fire for the night. Watching him puffing on his pipe watching that fire and then watching the snow, that was something. He'd never admit it, but he was pretty happy then.

He knew about the primal fire too.

It's really too warm for a fire.

After he retired, my grandfather bought several acres of desert. My older cousins (who lived a heckuva lot closer) dug a pit about four feet deep and ten feet across on his land. I helped them dig the fire pit high on one wall with a piece of bent roofing steel for the chimney. There was nothing like lying in that pit watching the smoke curl towards the stars.

They knew about primal fire too.

In a pinch, even a candle flame can be a doorway to something beyond.

Long before I understood what I was doing, I used to make little altars in my room. I used to get in trouble for having candles in there.

BOY did I get in trouble for that.

Back in Arkansas, my paternal grandfather's house had gas heaters, the kind that look like a big box with the gas flame behind little windows. Those never had the same fascination, although they did explain my stepfather's obsession with a really hot bathroom.

There are times when you just need to sit in front of a fire.

Posted: Tue - November 13, 2007 at 12:56 PM
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