Oct 7, 2011

"Fire Virgin"

So is there anyone more in love with fire than me? I really can not imagine there is. I live for that meaningful smell. The crackling, popping, sizzling sound it makes is music to my ears. Watching the colors dance is right next to bliss. I have no idea why I can make sense of so much in my life when I am staring into the fire. When I was a teenager we would often have a fire outside and I remember finding my mom sitting out there. I associate fire with nothing but supreme happiness:

Putting a pop can in a fire on the beach in Anancortes at Shelley's dad's house and running when it exploded....awesome sound!

Countless years of girls camp.....singing silly songs around the campfire about Sippin Cider Through A Straw and such :)

Sitting on a beach somewhere near Tillamook, Oregon watching fireworks explode out over the water while sitting by a huge fire....yeah, that's right I used the word fire twice in that sentence....sigh, that was a perfect moment.

Sitting by a fire and hearing owls hooting back and forth while staring into the fire.....so perfect.

Sitting by a fire listening to my mom dispense words of wisdom to my sister.

I have often longed to live in a place where we could have a fire outside. I know there are people out there who have fires every night they possibly can. They sit around them and chat, stare at the stars, and soak up nature I have been known to be jealous of them. Fire is such a simple, yet oh so powerful thing.

When we first moved into our house in Massachusetts I needed a fire pit.....soon. So the husband went to work on one. I was appreciative, but the finished product ended up being very close to an enormous rock that we have in our backyard and we could never fully enjoy the fire because one side of the fire was blocked by this massive rock and the actual pit was small, I am a BIG fire kind of girl. Nevertheless, that was our fire pit for three and a half years and it served us well.

 Last spring I got the notion to switch things up. When Zach came home from his mission in May I enlisted his help and he started researching fire pit building ideas online. But then he ended up getting a job at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah and he suddenly had to leave so we never worked on the fire pit. About two weeks ago I decided it was time to really focus on the fire pit. The husband jumped right in to help but I really wanted it to be my project so I signed a paper stating that I indeed had instructed him to NOT do a honey do :) JK.

 I have no idea why today was the magic day but it was. I made a large circle outline with my shovel and then using my hands I pulled out all the grass that was inside the circle. Then I wheeled 3 wheelbarrows full of topsoil away. Next I went to the Baird Families perpetual pile of rocks (every family should have one of these :) and I chose out my very favorites to line the fire pit with. New England is always happy to provide you with rocks anytime you need them.

When I was done with the fire pit I did not forget the most important part....proper seating. I remembered that sitting in my garage were two logs that I had used in a cub scout activity eons ago. I carried them back to the fire pit, tried them in several different spots, so as to be true to my womanhood, made a final decision, and blissfully sat on them. I confess, I was pleased as punch with my accomplishment. But there was one last thing....FIRE! Now you would think with all this talk about fire that I have been building fires since I was a wee lass....ummm that is not so. I have attempted fire building but there is something about me that just causes other people to long to show me how to do things. And I have always happily let them. But those days are over. Jennifer needs to be able to do things like build a fire on her own :) How will I ever get on Survivor? :)

So I headed to the garage and procured newspapers. Then I headed to the kitchen for matches. Then I stood with my hands on my hips staring at our leaning wood pile. I knew a few basics since I have taught cub scouts in my past....start with little sticks and end with big sticks... I am so smart :) So I laid out little sticks and rolled up pieces of newspaper and lit them with a match and voila.....yeah, not really. I mean it did start and I gave it all the love, nurturing, and kind words I could but in the end after about 20 minutes it was clear I was missing an important part. But I decided to dwell on what that missing part was later on and I moved on to the rest of my day. Yes, I am aware that you can probably identify my problem by looking at the picture :) I never was one to hide anything :)

When Tatiana came home from school and saw the new fire pit she was SO on board. She needed a fire right then and now and she needed to cook something over it. So after we did paper routes, a Wal Mart run, and other puttering around it finally came time to play fire again. We grabbed my flashlight, the newspaper and matches and headed to the backyard for,"Jennifer starts a fire volume two." We worked extra hard this time. We gathered pinecones and pine needles in the dark, we coaxed and coaxed the fire, and finally we got a very average fire going. Starting it was not a problem it was keeping it going.

Suddenly all my girls came out to join in the fun and Madeline immediately declared herself to be the goddess of fire. She explained to me all about oxygen, combustion, and everything in between. I was fascinated and immediately learned what I had been doing wrong. We all hung out by the fire for awhile. It was pretty cool to be sitting there with an amazing moon, stars, fire and my five daughters. We did not talk about all our deep, touchy feely, feelings Baird's rarely do that. Instead they danced around the fire, they yelled at Natalie for shining my amazing flashlight in their eyes and they counseled Tatiana on the fine art of cooking her brat (not a brat...you know....a brat :) over the fire. As we were winding down and heading inside I despairingly declared, "I really stink at building fires" and Madeline declared comfortingly, "It's okay mom, you are just a fire virgin." I think I said, "Thanks" :) I am still not sure what a good reply to that title would be :)

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