The Art and Craft of Fire
During the recent 48 hour power outage I took the opportunity to slow down. Sure there was much to do to keep enough light in the house for reading and navigation and to keep the house warm and to set up the camping stove so we could continue with creature comforts such as warm meals and coffee and tea.
However without electricity one really must slow down. You don’t do a load of laundry. You don’t pop things into the microwave. You don’t check email. You do conserve your energy. You are mindful of your batteries, and your propane and lamp oil supply. You listen to the radio intently. Basically you wake up and consider all that you take for granted.
Spending many hours in front of the fire place, I was able to contemplate the hot coals and realize that real fire is no longer used for much these days. We now heat things with all sorts of electrical power, and the only time one normally sees fire it comes from a gas fuel source.
It seems that few people deal with fire any more, and I think back to the little blacksmith work I did years ago. I think back to feeding a wood fire pottery kiln. I think back to cooking on a wood stove and heating a house with wood as its only heating source. I think about cooking on a camp fire.
Maybe we as humans are evolving away from open flames. They are dangerous and high maintenance, but it has only been in the last 40 years that we have eliminated most of the need for imprecise fire. Perhaps in 40 more years it will only be a true craftsman who will know what to do with it.