When I grow up (again) and own my own house (again) then I’m going to have an open fire. One I can fill with scrunched up newspapers and chunks of rough wood. I’ll buy an old, worn rug so I can imagine the long-gone people who’ve sat on it before me. I’ll think of them as I carefully build my fire, and my hands will smell of newsprint when I’m done. I’ll settle back on tingling calves and light a match. The noisy ink-on-paper world will shrivel to forgotten nothing but the wood will blaze and spit and rage.
When it’s settled I’ll listen to the quiet crackle and snaps. My fire will smell of autumn rain, dry summer and the promise of Christmas. I’ll turn the lights off and sit cross-legged in front of it. I’ll feel the warmth on my face and the cool on my back and I’ll sip red wine from a big bowl glass. Or maybe I’ll stretch out like a cat and purr, contented in the heat and the dancing shadows and the life of the fire. I’ll smile. Maybe talk quietly and laugh about life and work and the magic of the universe.
Sometimes, in the lull, I’ll turn and watch the flames reflected on someone else’s face as they sip their red wine and feed our fire and the warmth will come from somewhere deep inside me and, as we wear the rug down a fraction further, I will think, ‘this is a perfect moment.’ And I won’t tweet it, or instagram it, or joke about, because there will just be the rug and the warmth and the fire and the moment, all blazing and burning out and I’ll know how important it is to savour it all before it’s gone.
Some people are bonfire people. They want to huddle together in big groups. They want to watch a spectacle. They want to be surrounded by so many others all experiencing the same thing. I used to be a bonfire person. I don’t think I am anymore.
Or maybe I’m just growing old…or growing up..;-)