Thursday, April 19, 2007


I hadn't thought we'd need another fire this year, so it was a bit of surprise in mid-April to find that during the night some strong northerly winds had carried a big slab of Siberian Spring on their broad shoulders and shrugged it off right around this part of the country. So yesterday morning I decided to light a small fire in the wood stove, just enough to burn through the day and take the edge off the Spring chill.

I started the fire as usual and checked some time later as usual, only to find that despite the usual quantity and quality of starter wood, the fire seemed to have no appetite for being alight, as though it had intuited my wish for not really a fire but some semblance of a fire, just a little bit of a fire, and I guess fire has feelings too in a way, fire has pride of a sort, because somehow, there in the smoky dark of the stove the little crimson creature looked as though the spirit had gone out of it, as though it had no ambition to flame. It lay there like a small animal curled up, not quite feeling itself, lukewarm toward existence. As I tended to the barely flaming embers, I instinctively spoke (and later recalled with an odd feeling that I had done so):

"What is going on here, why are you acting like this, so down, so half-hearted? Look at all the fuel you have! You're not cold, you're not darkness, you're not ice! You're warmth, you're light, you're FIRE! We need you! You're IT! So perk up, don't be depressed, be proud! Be brightness! Get as hot as you really are!"

And sure enough, as I talked to and prodded the dispirited, embrous creature, as though it understood me it began to flicker and flare like a young red colt and soon was cantering along with full mane flying, lighting up the stove and warming the whole house just enough.

Fires are a lot like kids growing up; they need the basic necessities, but sometimes they need encouragement too.


Mary Lou said...

and sometimes just opening the door to poke at it gives it the oxygen it needs to perk up!! Checked your flume for bird nests lately?

Robert Brady said...

I open stove doors all the time and know the effect. If it was a bird's nest on the other hand, it woulda been a different post, about a bird's nest in the chimney. No, it was a live fire...

Anonymous said...

Boy, I needed to read this one sooner. It's been a little of a tough go in my world.

Makes for a struggle to be creative and well.

Your place always opens my sight. You're like fresh air here.

Anonymous said...

Of course, I have also been quite mellow dramatic, as you can see above...oh well, another day, a different tale. :)

Robert Brady said...

The mellow is always welcome, trace.