Built a small fire in our backyard pit last night, as we're are often wont to do on cool summer nights. Summer is barely here so the evenings do still bring a chill as demonstrated by my two fireside mates wrapped in blankets for extra warmth.
Back to the fire which starts with a few bits of crumpled newspaper surrounded by two sturdy logs and topped with wee bits o' kindling in turn topped by a few larger pieces of wood. I light a corner of the paper with a flexible butane bbq lighter and watch the bright orange and yellow tongues lick the edges of the wood. The wood is plenty dry so it is surrounded and held firm in the flame's searing grip in no time.
I, like many methinks, may be afflicted by pyromania. I come by it naturally. My father was a fire starter. We had regular early summer visits from the local firefighting crew after dad set the entire front lawn ablaze. Said it was good to rejuvenate the grass, but even at a young age I knew it had more to do with his penchant for burning, which he passed on to me and I onto the Boy. Or maybe the urge to burn goes all the way back to our cave dwelling ancestors, who no doubt immediately recognized the power they could weild with fire.
Flames are mesmerizing. I can stare at their dual rhythmic, spastic dance for hours on end. Toss in a few more sheets of paper, or better yet a dried pine bough, and watch the pile crackle, erupt and fill the cylinder reaching up and around the sides while blasting orange sparks off in all directions. Each finger as unique as a snowflake or a cloud. Seeing faces and random objects caught up in the dance for fleeting moments. I close my eyelids tight, but can still sense the incandescent logs and feel the heat.
And underneath it all an ever growing, glowing pile of red molten embers. Tempted to thrust a hand deep into its midst just to see what would happen. How quickly flesh would melt. Instead rest a poker there a while, then pull it back to watch it sizzle and smoke. Or toss in a bit of plastic to emulate the flesh and satisfy the curiosity.
The adjacent wood pile dwindles under the flame's voracious appetite. Solid logs reduced to ashes in mere minutes. The cool night trumps the allure of the pit and we retire...until the next stack of wood is set to meet its fiery fate.