I built the first fire of the winter season in our fireplace. This is an old house, late 1920s, and it has an old brick fireplace. It’s taken me a long time not to depend on a man in my life to build a fire. Sometimes he doesn’t want to; sometimes I have to wait. So I figured it out myself. I feel very self sufficient when I build a fire. I collect twigs and magnolia cones from the trees in my yard as my kindling. I love feeding the kindling, arranging the logs so air can circulate. I love the sound of a fire starting, the cracks and pops and uneven purring it makes. I love its tiger baby roar; I love watching it, losing the tense, this-moment self as thoughts go random and float lightly, as I stare more and more without mind at leaping flames. I love the way logs burn, the deep pumpkin orange they become, until all of them is that orange. They are literally pieces of burning coal. I love the sound logs make as they break apart, the fatal, first crack, the depth of its rending. I feel safe, wagons circled, as I watch the fire I’ve made. I love the pile of grey ashes still alive with little amber citron flicks of flame at its end. Copper, marigold, ocher, sienna, tangerine, apricot, carrot….red, chestnut, fuchsia, iron, madder, ruby….sulfur, canary, chrome, gold, straw, saffron….all the colors in the flames……..may they spark something inside, something as wondrously fiery and popping wild…………….

What’s popping wild for you? It was so easy to find when I was younger….


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