Thursday, October 20, 2011

Keeping The Campfires Burning

At the top of my love list of all things Fall are warm campfires, an illuminating centerpiece for all my backyard gatherings. At the end of a cold and damp day, whether cutting firewood or playing with my hunting and fishing friends, I gravitate to the fire with the enthusiasm of old dog in need of comforting warmth. No amount of clothing, no matter how adequate and appropriate for this season, can compete with the radiating heat of my campfire. On crisp evenings, I hold my feet in front of the flames, the warmth spreading up to my glowing face. Once my jaw is adequately lubricated by an appropriate amount of both drink and campfire heat, I find my words coming effortlessly, maybe too much so. So, I rotate and turn my back to the fire, enjoying the inhale of brisk air and the immediate silence that comes with facing the darkness and a brilliantly star-lit sky.

For me, campfires are:
  • Peace: As I start to warm from the outside in, I feel a sense of peace. I slow down. I breathe deeply. My campfire is a place to just be.
  • Great Conversations: When I have the pleasure of sharing a warm campfire with friends, and sometimes even strangers, the conversations always seem a little more provocative, open, entertaining and free.
  • Stories: Oh, yes, the conversations are wonderful. And the stories we tell around a campfire are even better. Even the weakest storyteller among us is able to weave a tale worthy of attention while the heat glows on his or her face and only the little ring of fire keeps the dark and the cold at bay.
  • Reflection: As the firelight and heat reflect off everything in the presence of a campfire, one warms to the opportunity to go inward and reflect about those things most important to us as well as the little things that seemed trivial minutia during the day.
  • Food: Campfires mean the concoctions never end. Eating begins as soon as the fire is started and can last well into the night. Everything has its own cooking time and while some dishes need a quick hot flame, others do better buried deep in hot coals. This time of year it's spice cider, baked potatoes, wild game, mulled wine, warm garlic bread, a big pot of chili or stew or chowder, spoon bread, bread pudding... no hurry, we have more than 14 hours of darkness this time of year and it's increasing every minute.
  • Morning Coffee: If I've banked my campfire just right, I've got good hot coals with which to enjoy my morning coffee.
Come on over any time. I'd love to share a fire and hear about what keeps you warm. Bring your flashlight.

Through the Flashlight's BeamCreepy Campfire Tales


"To poke a wood fire is more solid enjoyment than almost anything else in the world" ~Charles Dudley Warner

"The most tangible of all visible mysteries - Fire." ~Leigh Hunt

"One can enjoy a wood fire worthily only when he warms this thoughts by it as well as his hands and feet." ~Odell Shepard

"Fire is the most tolerable third party." ~Henry David Thoreau