Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Mantel


I was recently reminded of the fireplace where I used to stay at the lake in Canada. It was made of brick and was positioned in the middle of the structure to distribute the heat evenly. It’s mass could generate long after the fire had burned out.

It was a cold climate there even during the summer. We had a fire nearly every night. In all the summers I spent there I can think of only two evenings where we didn’t have a fire.

The fire place had a couple ledges built into it like graduated mantels. On these mantels were placed items of local legend such as a twice chewed beaver log. The story was that a beaver gnawed down a tree that fell on him and he had to gnaw away another section to free him self. There was a splendid example of birds-eye maple from split wood. There were those fungus things that grow on trees that people dried and painted scenes of nature on. There were photos of old-timers from the 20’s and 30’s holding strings of fish they had caught from the lake; strings with sixty or more fish. There were also several very ornate antique kerosene lanterns on the ledges.

The objects on that fire place were a touchstone for me. Every year that I returned to the lake I immediately reacquainted myself with the objects. There were other things on the ledges but thirty five years has stripped some of them away from my memory, but the objects mentioned here are still very much in my mind. I can still feel the weight of the objects in my hands. I clearly remember their colors, their smells and their dimensions. They are all in my mind as though I just looked at them.

2 Comments:

Blogger darev2005 said...

I can hardly ever remember living in a house without a fireplace and a mantel. Certain times of the year the things on the mantel would change to reflect the holiday or the season or moms latest hobby, but for the most part it stayed the same. Knick-nacks that wouldn't fit anywhere else were placed there to be high enough not to get played with and broken. I love having a good fireplace in the winter. A house is so much nicer with a good fire going.

6:54 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

My mantel is the host to ceramics and art.

5:24 AM  

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