The Beauty of a quiet, undisturbed morning.
I am the first one up, my mind is clear. The air is clear and cold.
I started a fire, prepared the layers of crumbled paper, thin kindling branches, thicker bark pieces, and then logs of wood. The fire started tentatively at first, licking its way around the edges of the paper, then becoming hungrier and reaching for more to consume. The fire searches the cavities beneath the logs, lighting them from below. Quickly, the flames grow and expand until they roar at full speed towards the chimney. With the sudden heat, the metal of the stove begins to creak.
How many times have we humans built fires and watched them spring into their fullness, reaching our hands towards the warmth, comfort and protection? A fire – focal point for the family or the clan to gather around, warm their bodies, boil water for tea or stew, and roast some tubers or meat.
Making a fire, like baking bread, always connects me with a long line of ancestors, a line so long that I don’t know their names or country or continent of origin. They are all the people who came before me, who needed fire to survive. The fire-making ritual makes us kin. Those who came before live briefly in the glimmer of ancestral memory as the fire gains power.
Making a fire in my woodstove also is an act of quiet rebellion against dependency on the electric grid, the gas industry, the nuclear power stations, the coal mining industry. The wood is gathered from fallen logs in our back woods – free fuel, free heat for the effort of collecting, splitting and stacking.
I sit back on the couch, warmer now. So much to be grateful for already on this first day of the newborn year: the fire warming the house, a quiet space to think and write, a steaming pot of Earl Grey tea. What will the day bring? What will this year bring? It doesn’t matter, I remind myself, this is the moment that counts. Fire. Warmth. Tea. A new beginning.
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