Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Kaleidoscope

The spring weather is wonderful.  No need to keep the multi fuel stove going all day.  However, since part of our living space is below the water line, in the mornings things can be a bit cool and damp.  A small fire is called for to just get the chill off.

To help with this Mike and I have been scavenging wood from along the canal path.  Some of the smaller pieces we use as kindling.  Some of the larger become mini logs for our morning fires.  The really big pieces we leave for those boaters with chain saws.

Sometimes we find quite a bit of fuel but other times the other boaters have gotten there before us and all we find are piles of sawdust and twigs.  Someone's woodpile for their stove has been restocked, free of charge.

If you look at the other narrow boats along the canal it is easy to see which ones are live aboard and which are holiday boats.  The live aboards all have some amount of wood stacked on the flat top of the boat. 

Now, every morning Mike starts our small fire and I spend the first part of my day sitting on the step by the stove drinking my coffee or tea and watching the flames.  I come by this attraction to fires and flames genetically.

My grandmother loved to watch a fire burn.  So much in fact, she used to set her back field on fire necessitating the arrival of volunteers (including the older boys in high school) to get it under control and put it out.  It was a sort of community ritual and everyone knew it expect it. :-)

My mother also loved to watch the flames, although she confined her fires to the fireplace in the living room.  She always said she liked to watch the fairies dance.  The sparks that float upwards when a pocket of moisture in the wood is exposed were her fairies.  I love to watch them, too.

If you really take the time to look at the fire you can see some of the flames move in the wind draft of the fire.  Sometimes, you will see a long and very thin spout of flame as if from a pinhole in a water hose.  Other flames flow as if they were molten lava.

The colors of the flames can range from the cooler blue to yellow, orange and the literally red hot.  It is as if you are seeing the warmth of the sun that was trapped inside the wood.  An ever changing kaleidoscope.

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