Fire and Tea
Fire is mesmerizing, it’s movements, the swirls, it hypnotizes me. I’m with friends, we’re out in their garden, we’re enjoying a drink, warm tea. We’re sharing stories. Stories of family, friends, past lovers and future opportunities. The stories are animated, but by no means loud. Each of us is wearing a warm blanket. It’s a comfortable setting, perfect in ways. It’s autumn and the days are decidedly shorter. It’s dark, a shade of blue distantly reminding us that a day had existed. In the middle there’s a large fireplace. Composed of several large blocks, there’s a familiarity about it. We’ve seen this fire, we’ve heard it.
As the evening progresses, the tea slowly makes way for wine. The scent of the burned wood lingers. Just enough to recognize the smell, not enough to be bothered by it. The stories shift, no longer about future opportunities, but about friends and past lovers. The stories more animated, on occasion loud. But the fire keeps burning. It’s replenished and it doesn’t change. As my interest in the conversation slowly wanes, the fire’s hypnotism seems to grab hold. The way it swirls, my eyes lock into it. The stories grow more distant, but the cracking of the wood becomes all the louder. The all I hear is the fire, all I see is the fire, all I smell is the fire.
Consciousness knocks and I wake up. Still my eyes focus on the fire. But notice it waning, I look around. Several broken branches are drying. I add several and replenish the pile. My knees stiff. I get up to walk a bit. The cloak on my shoulders weighs heavy. The wine, the blanket, all gone, the tea in the small cup in my hands all that remains. Stories and friends from a decade ago all but memories. I carefully lift the pot out of the fire and unpack the bread inside.
The fire keeps me warm and dry. The fire brings food and water. The fire brings memories and back then it brought me friendship and stories. It inspires and evokes while it calms and sustains. We can find any way to live our lives out of it, but when we are reduced to nothing, all it takes is a kindling to return.
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