fire fire, flickering leaping, flames dancing, shooting sparks. we’ve been immersed in fire building this past week. i went out one afternoon, and lo and behold! there was a crackling fire in the circle. tenderfoot, stormy, and little man had been busy gathering the kindling and wood all morning. however, what surprised me was that the fire had been made with the wood we use for the woodstove: cedar and locust, which they had split into thinner pieces. turns out somewhere along their fire building foray they had become ‘poor folk’, and they lived outside in a house with no walls or ceilings, so poor were they. consequently, the house (our house) became the rich neighbour’s home, and in the spirit of robin hood and peter in the railway children, they helped themselves to the rich folks wood to keep their family from getting ill from cold you see. along with apples, which were speared and roasted and eaten as ‘supper’.
it was quite a fire, very warm and cozy and we all gathered around it well into the dark hours. once night had settled in, little man emerged from the house with a handfull of small firecrackers that had been in a closet for who knows how long. these were thrown on the flames, turning them pink, green, and blue, and then we headed off to bed. later that night laughing fox and i went back out to enjoy the still burning fire, and we heard a flock of wild turkeys moving about and calling in the woods. it was sweet. as a result, we’ve been talking about the different kinds of wood and how some are wet, others dry, and how you can tell one from the other: a giveaway for real dry wood is the crack that comes when you break it so easily. other things noticed have been the sap that oozes from burning pine, the crackles sent out by dry pine needles, and the smell from cedar.
the fires built after that day, however, have been limited to the brush, and twigs/logs foraged from about in the woods. they didn’t seem to need to play out being poor again! instead they’ve been sorting wood into piles based on thickness of wood, heaping dry leaves to use as starter along with newspaper, and taking turns laying out the ‘start up tepees’ to see what works best as far as getting the fire going. a particular favorite is thatching the fire, once caught, with dried grasses and poking chimney holes for the thick smoke to emerge from. watching pine cones on the embers is another.
last night we watched the moon rise, along with orion in the stars. tenderfoot and little man went ‘hunting’ by the hunter’s moon with their bows and arrows; their ‘prey’ was in the yucca bush. little bird fell asleep in my arms around the fire and the night went on with star stories. today tenderfoot brought out a book on constellations from the bookroom and showed me orion illustrated. we looked through the book and found the quillwork girl, pegasus, and cygnus, which she found to have interesting shapes. more star talk ensued. mostly wonderings about the light and the stars with their stories and possibilities. such wide eyed questions, requiring no answers. just a listening ear for the marvelling to be shared with; while our fires get kindled and stoked . . . .