giving birth to fire

tripod

Every time a fire is created it is like a birth of a new child. It is a time of excitment, uncertainty and it needs your undivided attention.

Although fire is the simple, but heady mix of heat, fuel and air there are so many different factors within these that make it unpredicatable and infinitely variable each time one is lit. I have made fire hundreds of times but each time I feel like its my first (child) and I am filled with trepidation.

Growing a fire is like growing a person or at least loving them. You coax it, feed it, encourage it to grow, you adjust, add, subtract, shield, protect…nuture it from spark to ember, ember to flame, flame to heart(h). Too much attention and you can smother it, making it too big too quickly can  give it a weak heart. Adding different fuels at different times can grow the ember-base for a durable and long-lasting bed of coals that can be re-kindled, like a friendship even when much time has passed  – the embers lie quietly glowing in the ash ready for your gentle breath.

Building a big fire can give it a huge appetite. You can become a slave to feeding its overweening needs – too hot to be comfortable, too hungry to share its flame. Make it too small and the wind, rain or cold can extinguish it like a neglected love.

But the time will inevitably come when you no longer feed it and watch it die down,  becoming cold at the end of its life. It is with great sadness when I extinguish a fire or throw the last log on.

You bring life to fire. You care for it. In return it gives you light, heat and hope. It can help guard you, feed you and shelter you. You are its creator and custodian but in return it gives back as much as you give it. Fires are like people, like relationships, like parenthood, like life.

long log fire

For another perspective on fire then please click here

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