The beauty of woodfires

Whether at home, or in the bush, tending an open fire is an antidote to modernity. For convenience sake, turning on a switch to pump hot air is handy but you know that it’s heat for cheats and just not the same. It’s not the sort of heat your skin can absorb and that warms you from the inside like a bowl of hot porridge or mug of soup. Lighting a fire is like a ceremony that honors a more natural pace of life. You can’t click your fingers at a fireplace: fire on demand! You must be mindful of your own comfort and that of your family or guests.

There are needs, too, that prevent you from taking a fire for granted. You must have a full wood basket, a well-stacked woodpile, and dry sticks at hand. It’s a bonus to know how to lay a fire for optimum warmth. And you will also need patience enough to wait until the room is warmed before taking off your coat when you get home from work. And, yes, a wood fire is messy, but this will serve to remind you that few good things in life come with minimal effort from you. A central fireplace can vie with the telly or computer for spatial attention. And if it wins over the batteries and the electric cords of entertainment, you will find that conversations are made or books are read in front of fires.

 Published in Country Style August, 2013