I was thinking today about what to write about. I was going to title this article, “children”, and in truth, that is what I intend to write about. Last night, my oldest daughter and I were by a fire. We were burning up some waste wood infected with mold. This task is quite easy, given that we charged the fire first with a bit of waste cardboard. After the fire was going merrily, and I was half way into my cup of mead, I noticed my daughter. Over in the edge of the fire she had corralled herself some glowing coals. My first instinct, was to scold her, or at least warn her about her proximity to the fire.
As I opened my mouth, I held my tongue. A thought had struck me, a memory: I was even younger than her, my father, some cousins and uncles sitting around a fire. Like all children I had my stick, which I would by turns ignite and extinguish in the ashes. “Play in the fire and you will wet the bed!” This was the old wives tale we were given to make us behave, and not play in the fire. As I watched my daughter, “play”, I began to realize something.
My daughter with her little satellite fire, was imitating me. Blowing on it, adding fuel, raking the coals together. So instead of haranguing her with cautions, we talked about what we were doing. I reminded her to keep her coat out of her fire. Then talked to her about how to blow on it. Young people are small, with small lungs. They imagine that if they just blow with all their might, they can achieve the same result as you. My daughter and I have talked many times in the past about how to create the right breath for fire. Yet she is still a child, they get tired, they forget. So patiently, quietly, you have to remind them.
Despite her work, and my counsel, her small fire died. She was not downcast, she wanted to plunder my fire for coals! I told her no, that she could come blow on “the fire” in tandem with me. Mother was inside with the littles, baking brownies for movie night. For a long time after the sun had set, we fed and breathed life into the fire. We did not have to do this, we could have let it work itself and come back in the morning. There is something sacred and comforting about fire. We sat there because sometimes there is nothing like sitting next to a fire with someone you love.
After awhile, we were summoned to watch the movie. We got the brownies and all got nice and warm. Movie night for us is usually “Willow”, a good adventure yarn. Last night was no exception.
The clip above may have some wonky sound, we were listening to music next to the fire. YouTube picked out the song! Given the option to mute all the sound, or just the offending song, I chose the latter. My apologies if that makes the video sound strange. We have a busy day today. I am pleased to be keeping with the plan to write to you Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Today’s article is a bit behind, but here it is! This was a departure from what I usually write about. Family, and the offspring we create, are the most important works we can engage in.
I am very proud to be a craftsman. Making beautiful and functional things has always been a key passion in my life. How that passion has been amplified as a father! Passing along skills, wisdom and joy to my children surpasses anything I have ever done. In a way it is another form of craft, pouring into the next generation. It is my hope that when I finally leave this life, my children will be making even more beautiful and useful things.
Dear reader, I hope this little article finds you in good health. I must away to accomplish my work for today. Until I write to you again,(on Wednesday, Wednes willing!),
Fare well, wherever you fare,