Monday, December 31, 2007

The Yule Fire

We've had a fireplace in both of the houses we've lived in. My kids grew up helping to build the fires and loved to keep them going. Debra started a fire the Saturday before Christmas. We've carefully kept it going since then - no daily matches for us! We make sure we either leave a fresh log on when we go to bed or we pile ashes over the coals. Then in the morning we expose the remaining coals adding a new log and perhaps some kindling. Before long there is smoke rising and flames follow. We also have bellows which get put to work speeding up the process.

Debra asked me today why we seem to put so much importance in keeping the fire going. I think the answer is probably complex. Deep down in our psyches is the need for warmth and light. For ancient man it was important to keep a fire going without matches and firestarter matches. Flint and rubbing sticks together is a lot of work to get that initial fire going. Some of it is probably sheer laziness - as it is easier to insure that you still have coals, put them together, pop a new log on in the morning, and wait for fire to light itself. But some if it is also a skill challenge - what do you do to keep that hot fire from burning all the way out by morning? How do you stack it so no logs roll out? (I don't like fire screens - they keep the heat from warming the room.)

And, of course, another benefit - we've enjoyed the beautiful flames and warmth. We've had large roaring fires, and small gentle ones.

Some evenings we've added candles to the mix.

Candlelight and fireglow - definitely some of the wonderful joys of winter.

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