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Jan
10
2012

Confessions of an arsonist

in Life Lessons, Parenting

Photo by shho on www.sxc.hu

I love fire.

I could sit beside a campfire for hours and watch the embers dance in the heat of the flame. The smell is intoxicating. It seeps between the threads of fabric and becomes one with it. It builds memories there so that every time I put my coat on I am immediately reminded of the weekend.

I love the process of collecting leaves, twigs, sticks, and logs and strategically tee-peeing them atop a nest of dry grass. I love poking the fire and rearranging the wood to keep the smoldering stack from going out. I love teaching little hands how, when everything is done in a certain order, the reward is greater.

I find the entire process both relaxing and invigorating. It is relaxing because the rhythm of the crackle seems to quiet my brain that usually operates faster that my body can function. It is invigorating because I know that at that moment around a campfire, the world is silenced.

There is no TV. No movies. No cell phones. No video games. No interruptions.

And I love sharing that experience with my kids. Flame kissed marshmallows squished between chocolate and graham cracker is so much more memorable than a bowl of popcorn on the couch.

When a campfire is lit, memories are made and shared. It is inevitable. The smell of oak or pine fills the air and all you have to do is look around at the faces of those you are sharing the flame with to see which smile is going to crack first with that initial phrases, “I remember one time when…”

Nothing brings back a person’s childhood like a campfire, and nothing brings me closer to people than sharing a flame with them. There is an innocence to a campfire. An openness. A campfire is a dialog starter and a memory collector.

Fire makes me happy. It welds my family together and keeps our unity strong. I would not trade my camping weekends for anything in the world. It reconnects me with my kids. It reminds me of why I love them.

I am a happy arsonist happily raising little arsonists. And, truth be told, I think the world would be a happy and healthier place if more arsonists lived in it.


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