Last evening at the firepit

Yesterday was a busy day of administrative work and catching up on phone calls and emails.  I took a few breaks to walk through the property, picking up fallen branches and moving the sprinkler.  Earlier in the week, I’d cut a lot of the older, lower fronds off my sabal minor palmettos.  I also have some sabal minor Mccurtains that I leave untrimmed.  I picked up the trimmed fronds (with gloves this time!) and wove them into the driveway wall, filling in the empty spaces.  I have to leave the structure very airy so the wind can blow freely, and not knock it down.  Until the freeze in February 2000 something, a five feet tall ficus hedge lined the driveway.  It just last year began coming back.   I love that the plants have a cycle, that all of Nature has a cycle.  It lets me know that nothing dies, everything is reborn in another form, ever changing.  That keeps me hopeful for the future.  Not just about my yard, but about my life.  

I saw the frost of two nights ago had burned the tips of one exposed turk’s cap bush, so I trimmed the tips.  All of the other turk’s cap and arbicolas, shielded by loquats, bamboo or oaks, received no damage.  I picked up a few more armsful of kindling and branch deadfall and broke them into size, and decided that was enough work for the day.

It was late afternoon when I got a chance to step outside and do yoga as I assessed the sundown situation.  Did I want to kick back in the rocker with a small fire in the chimenea on the back porch, or did I want to grill some veggies in the firepit in the west woods?  It was about 60 degrees, so I opted to sit outside.  I wrapped a sweet potato in foil. At the last minute, instead of grilling, I opted to toss the zucchini, red pepper strips, onions and chunks of pineapple and apple in a foil packet with olive oil and oregano, salt and pepper and a half dozen unpeeled garlic cloves.

I made a small fire and nestled my foil packages into the coals.  It felt good to sit back in the cushiony outdoor chair with my boots up on the bricks.  I had kava tea brewing and the teapot set on the warming stone just inside the pit, up high, not too close to the flame.  Remember the handle is hot. Ow.  I added some dry camphor and bay branches and leaves and caught their fragrance as they danced in the flame.

I love watching a fire, the flames dancing, changing from one form into another.  I love poking a fire: this area could use a little more oxygen, this area needs another stick on it.  I love managing the firewood: not too much, don’t choke it, no waste.  Use just enough to keep it going, use only as many branches as you need.  I know exactly how much wood I need for an hour’s fire, then I watch the coals burn down for another hour.  That’s the typical routine.  I never assume it’s really out until I pour water on it before going in.

I like the walk back into the house, because by then it’s dark and where I live, it’s WAY dark.  If I’m barefoot, it’s easy to tell where I am on the path.  I can feel every root and know to bear right at the gnarled oak root and then duck under the low branch two steps beyond.  With yard boots on, I have to pay a little more attention, especially since I’m also carrying in everything I had outside for cooking. As I take off my sweatjacket, I can smell the woodsmoke on it.  I assume it’s in my hair also.  No matter.  It’s a familiar and comforting smell.

Inside, I enjoyed dinner on the back porch: my roasted sweet potato, zucchini, red pepper strips, onions, pineapple and apple with spices and yummy fresh roasted garlic, all dumped atop a bed of fresh spinach.  I sat in the recliner with the folded fluffy blanket and called YinYang, who jumped up in my lap.  I petted her and brushed her a bit and then she fell asleep.  Shortly thereafter, I did the same.  I was glad when I awoke a few hours later, to find she was NOT asleep on my chest as she had been the night before.  But a little attention is nice.

Another day in Paradise.  I am so grateful. I want to look back on my life and be giddy with joy that I was the one who got to live it.





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