I share here video of the first fire I started and tended on my own. This fire was very special to me, and I will hold its warmth in my heart forever.
I made the fire in the woodstove of my cabin on a cold day in May 2016, in Spillcorn, NC. Yes, May. And still cold enough to necessitate a hot fire. That's the mountains for you. After spending my entire adulthood in cities, in 2014 I had left NYC to farm on Hawaii's Big Island. The start of a farming journey in rural lands where solid wifi was elusive, showers were cold-water only, the lights went out at dusk to conserve energy, and toilets were glorified holes in the ground, it was out in the wooded places that I found myself. Found my calling.
Since that time I have learned to rejoice in small, simple pleasures—often merely tasks necessary to make food or keep warm where industrialized infrastructure does not exist—that seem to have no place in a citified context. Fires are one such delight. In each place where I lived and worked, as I built my knowledge of the Earth's ways, fires were made for warmth or ceremony. From Hawaii onward I had at most assisted in gathering kindling, or merely sat back and watched as fire was prepared.
But that night last May, I made several stacks of of dry branches that had been left by a prior inhabitant of my cabin on the mountain, ripped up shreds of scrap paper, assembled a small pile of matches, and set to work to warm up my little icebox of a home. It took less time than I thought to get a nice flame going.
Because I had no running water in the cabin and the closest water source was a steep hike to the communal kitchen on the land, I got in the habit of filling up a tea kettle with water and placing it on top of the wood stove at night before bed. Within a half hour I'd have a kettle full of hot water that would stay warm until morning, when it was time to get ready for class, or to work in the garden.
Give thanks for fire!