What is it about a campfire that fixes our stare?
As we sit in front of something so dangerous, deadly even.
The lodgepole pine requires the heat of fire to melt the resin of its pinecone, releasing the seeds.
The very thing that destroys is required for rebirth. Life’s paradox.
The first moments around a fire, I always remember other moments around a fire. Sitting near our bonfire back in Hope. The Indiana autumn air and raking leaves. Blue nylon tarps spread out across our back yard, mostly woods. Dragging our efforts to overwinter the garden.
I remember my dad building a fire. How many times over the course of my growing up did I witness such ritual? Hundreds. I can hear his voice as I build my own fires, a voice that now sounds like mine as I instruct my children. Endless refrain.
I flash through camping trips, friend’s back yards, parties. Any time a flame was conjured to create the moments in our lives. As I remember, I pause in notice of the sweet raising of my cheeks in fondness. Goodness. A lovely existence.
Then I settle.
Into my mind. Into mesmerization.
The colors as they dance - orange, yellow, red, blue, white - invite contemplation. A destination for when you walk your thoughts. There is permission and freedom to journey far.
Miles in, my daughter gasps when the wind shifts and the smoke blows over her, “Momma, the fire is going to come get me.”
“No bug, you are safe,” I say through hypnotic pensiveness.
Time passes. Sam can’t decide if her feet are too hot or her hands are too cold, she heads back into the house.
My eyes remain on the glowing power in front of me, and I am somewhere along travels of my thoughts.