To build a fire

Published by GrahamLewis in the blog Reflections on My Golden River. Views: 52

"But a spark still burned so I saved the life . . .."

I decided to start a fire today, the second of the season. Impatient as usual, I tried to make it burn before it was ready, resulting in a lot of newspaper ash and a bit of frustration. After several efforts, I got it going, and now it's contentedly crackling away. Exactly what I wanted. It will of course reach its point of maximum heat and flame, then slowly die away. As they all do. As we all do.

I find myself thinking of an old friend, old in the sense of getting a bit long in the tooth as I am, but also old as in mostly former. We were so close for so long, but for reasons I think I know but am not sure, we are no longer in any but the most irregular contact. But in our younger days we were almost literally inseparable, like brothers except perhaps closer, because we chose each other. Camping, mountain-climbing, innumerable hikes and bike rides, best men at each other's weddings (twice for me) and there for each other's firstborns, both daughters.

One affectation my friend -- let's call him Mark for that is his name -- had was/is to start a fire with only one match. I recall watching him so carefully assemble a campfire, light the match and place it just so, and blow and coax the embers into flame. I teased him about it, but secretly I envied both the determination and the demonstrated ability. So many fires we shared. How many times I marveled at how wonderful a true friendship could be.

But like fires, all relationships run their course. Perhaps there is still a spark, perhaps I can someday fan that into at least a brief flame. But I honestly don't think so. The thing about this mortality we call life, is that we come from mystery, we leave to mystery, and we do both alone. Only in the interim do we find companionship, and when we do, we should treasure it. It is a gift, not a given.
Iain Aschendale likes this.
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