Sitting by the fireplace
Sitting by the fireplace at the end of a long day is a perfect way to unwind. I find that the slow crackle and aroma of old dry wood burning up and out into the winter air eases all of my tensions. It is in these moments that I can do my best creative thinking.
I find that as I get older the little things that remind me of my childhood become more and more important. Whether that is my sister's annual performance of the nutcracker or family dinner on Sunday nights I have begun to relish each one with a gratefulness that a younger me would have scoffed at. I find that the older I get, the more willing I am to enjoy the things that I hated when I was younger. But this is a tangent, and has little to do with the reason that I love fires. I have always loved fires.
Some of my happiest summer nights and my coziest winter mornings have been around fire places and fire pits. While all together a luxury today, fires carry with them the excitement of the first humans who harnessed their energy for warmth and food. They burn, different every time, in colors that have always captured my attention. Fires mean s'mores, sparks, camping, skating, Christmas, and the 4th of July all at once. They tie up all of the beautiful things in life into one intense release of years of energy, captured in the orange, red, white, and blue flames that leap out of crisp tan logs and old newspapers.
Each fire burns differently, but each ends in much the same manner. Fires die as a bed of hot coals, stronger and smaller than they were before. This is the most beautiful part of the fire and the part that most people miss. As the night goes on and people go their separate ways people put out their fires or let them burn down, but I watch as the coals gasp for oxygen, clinging to the beautiful life they have left. In this breath they sparkle across the bead of the fire, like little starts dancing across the sky. How fitting that this beautiful light should fade into the dark, empty but for a few ashes, boldly gone as if it had never been.