Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Meditations Of The Fireplace


 
At the heart of Amie’s grandfather’s cabin is such a beautiful and well-constructed fireplace. Its sturdy, weathered stones impress a steady, resilience to the seemingly ever-present Maine chill.  Even the brief, wonderous Maine summer nights will bring a crisp cool air. As is natural to all things of true quality, this fireplace has withstood the test of time having warmed generations of the Mallett family. Grandmother Rosemary before she passed of cancer loved entertaining at the cabin watching her children and grandchildren descend from the cabin steps, breaking into a run down the dock, and diving into refreshing waters -- only to return to the fireplace and warm themselves. Amie and her parents lived at the cabin when she was 7 years old. She remembers trekking outside the cabin to fetch wood during cold, wintry nights as her mother tended to her infant brother, Jason. She understood the importance of keeping the fireplace alight. 

I have become quite charmed with this fireplace having taken such simple pleasure in tending its fires since our arrival. I have sat cozy in the glow of the fire reading my National Geographic Adventure travel magazine and having fallen asleep before I am able to finish even an article or two. I love to position the rocking chair at such a precise distance that I can dangle my socked feet at that just-right toastiness. Our natural gas fireplace at home just does not emanate the same comforting heat as this wood-burning, hearth fireplace. I actually have to venture to the outdoor woodpile every few hours, but I smile knowing that I'll soon be back in the protective warmth of the fireplace. I am happy in simply sitting in front of the fire.

I have come to appreciate the fireplace for its varying simplifying lessons to life. As the only source of heat in the cabin, you have to always attend to it and nurture it. The fires have to keep burning to sustain the warmth. However, if you put an excess of wood, then its fires will blaze too hot, but if you leave it unattended, then its warmth will fade away. You can't get too preoccupied with too many other activities; you gotta stay focused on sustaining the fire...

...it is very late into the evening and Amie is in a deep sleep in the next room...all the lights are off, and only the fire crackles and glows...in my deepest meditation and prayers...

...hmm...I need to tend to Amie, our family, friends, and life's work like I tend to this fire...

--hnb

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