Tuesday, January 22, 2008


For the last week or so, I've dug through the trash piles of neighbors and the depths of empty lots to find firewood. Dry wood is a pretty rare find in the Tropics, so I ended up cutting up 3 Christmas trees to create a campfire for my friends. It's a miracle my neighbors didn't call the police. Taking saw to limbs and digging a fire pit is instinctual for me, a major part of my old life in the woods. In Miami, it's freakish...or worse (gasp), for laborers! Why not just buy fake logs from Publix, I was asked half a dozen times by different people.

But then my mind wanders to what the question probably means: Why not just do the campfire in the fireplace? Or why not just use candles? Why bother lighting them? Why not just make S'mores in the microwave and watch Everyone Loves Raymond on the couch?

I found that contentment is not counted only by weekends, it's counted by the minute. Gambling on later rather than now often ends in disappointment or hallow satisfaction when things do go as planned. Getting dirt under my fingernails is therapeutic and growing blisters on my hands is humbling. When the match is struck and the fire lights, the whole experience is there: the cutting, the hauling, the digging, the stacking, the tending.

I'm reminded of the "craft kits" management ordered from Oriental Trading at a summer camp where I worked: These cute packages that each kid glues A to B and B to C. Voila! They can take home a fancy token that took no skill or thought...only the kids would often leave them in the craft lodge. Their ugly baskets or bead necklaces always went home. There is more value in what you create than what you manufacture.

Anyhow, I really needed the downhome, hanging out around a fire: even if it's 75 degrees out with scattered showers. It was good for my soul. It was humbling and made my hair smell like pine. And the whole experience gave my neighbors something to gossip about.

1 comment:

AtlantaMom said...

I've really missed your posts. I think you're a great writer - inspirational, even...

How I love bonfires! I love to toast marshmallows and make s'mores.

You know, the whole laziness factor is exactly what has pushed me toward running. So much laziness - all around me. Some would call it contentedness; I call it as I see it.

Gossiping neighbors? You know, you should feel flattered that you've inspired discussions about you. :-)

Until later...and please update more often!!