Posted: February 16, 2014 in Community, Family


Fire….it seems so simple. Until relatively recently, it wasn’t. You used to have to ensure there was plenty of kindling, plenty of dry wood. You had to use any of a number of ways to light it…..striking flint, blowing and protecting embers, fueling it, stoking it, nursing it. One false move, and you had to start over.

It’s an element of life that means life. Without it we would not have evolved the way we have. Fire has allowed us to warm ourselves, ward off the night and keep the beasts at bay. It has allowed us to cook, boil water, make steam, make things we never thought possible. It often start with but one spark, but in those cases it is not usually on purpose. The control of fire has meant, literally, the world to us as a species.

For my family, fire means all of these things, but more than anything, it means ‘family time’. Here in Canada, and specifically in Ontario, this weekend is ‘Family Weekend’, a holiday that was created to not only give us all a well-deserved holiday in the middle of a long drawn out winter, but to also give time for families to stop and breathe, to realize just how important we are to each other. I’ll admit that I may not have appreciated the first couple of Family Days as much as I should, but that is no longer the case. It is safe to say that, in light of all that we have been through in the last few years, family has become what I cherish most.

We have made many fires at our camp. But we don’t have access to tis camp in the winter. And so, fire became a seasonal affectation.  We loved those times, used them as occasions to cast our worries and concerns aside, to stop and enjoy a simple conversation, or as often, a peaceful silence together. My wife has always enjoyed fire more than I do, although I think I’ve caught up to her. The mystical effects of fire have always captivated her imagination. And of late, mine as well.

Now that we own a dwelling that allows us to embrace the outdoors more readily in all seasons, we finally have the opportunity to enjoy fire in the winter time. And this evening, after what seems like a race against time of Olympic proportions, we flicked our lighter and lit the first of many fires in our new location. We stopped. We breathed. We watched the fire build in intensity, stoked it, nursed it, huddled towards it. We looked at each other and simply appreciated each other for what we are: family. We thanked the universe for the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company doing something that mankind has been doing for millennia.

Heres to hoping that all families take the time to toast each other tonight, and indeed, this weekend. Nurture and stoke your family unit much like we nurture the fire. Keep it going, for at times your family may be the only light you see in times of an enveloping darkness.

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