I was sitting at the wood stove the other day and
contemplating starting a fire… my husband usually takes care of that, but he
was out for a bit. I opened the door and noticed that there seemed to be a few lit embers left over from the night before, they grew brighter as the oxygen
reached them. So, I added a few small pieces of tinder, and the flames caught
After a few minutes, letting the flames warm the
chimney above, I added a few small logs. It wasn’t long before I had a
satisfying and warming fire heating the house. (Supplemental heat, it is not
our only source.) I was surprised at how quickly the wood caught and was
burning so very hotly, it was both frightening and amazing. Thinking of the
firefighters who put out uncontrolled fires, I was in awe at the task they must
have to make sure that smoldering rubble does not re-ignite.
I also remembered nights singing around the
campfire at the local Girl Scout camp, and the times we entertained in the backyard around an open fire pit. Always make room to be careful, not to get too
close to the flames, and of course to make sure that everything is safely out,
or properly enclosed, when it’s time to walk away.
Then I made the parallel and realized that the
smoldering embers are a lot like our memories and emotions. You think your
tears are tamped down but add a bit of oxygen and they flare up; all you need
is a bit of fuel, more memories, and the fire rages again. In a way, it is
comforting that our memories, both happy and sad, are always there. We should
never forget the people we love, whether they are still here or not.
While flames may reduce things to ashes, they can
also warm our bodies when controlled. There are both good and bad memories you
can dwell on, but if you choose to soak in the warmth of your good memories, it
does feel comforting.
Meanwhile, a hot fire in the wood stove on a winter’s night certainly sounds nice.