First Fire February 14, 2012

This last weekend I built my first fires in our big local-stone fireplace.  In fact, over the ridge of the mountain we live on, one can see the cliffs of the Grovestone Quarry's 1,000 acres, and hear the machinery.  Luckily, under the lea of the ridge, on the South side, we don't hear much except the neighbor's chocolate and vanila labs barking.  I had already gathered in various sizes of kindling and wood cut up higher on the mountain by another neighbor, and had them stacked in baskets on the ledge of the fireplace for the last 2 months.  But it was cold enough this weekend, 18 at night, that a fire seemed in order.  Asheville generally has a pretty mild climate and most of us do not have garages.  I hadn't set a fire in years.  It amazed me how I brought it up, feeding it ever bigger kindling and logs, to that stage where it is ripping in waves right up the chimney and there are scintillant and breathing poppy colored coals beneath the grill.  I am returning to the elements.  It gives me such relief when I hear the stream bed filling up and pouring itself down the "holler" (as in people calling across to each other).  I'm enjoying the real meaning of cliches like "keeping the home fires burning," and the real comfort in the meaning of the word "hearth."  Somehow Hera, that wifely goddess of the hearth, doesn't seem nearly as dull as she used to! 

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