What is it about boys and fire? When I was little there was nothing I enjoyed doing more than helping my dad build a fire or tend a fire. I loved (and still do) real fires in fireplaces and outdoors in my chimera. But today in most states, brush fires are no longer allowed because of air pollution and the nuisance the smoke makes. I recall fond memories of burning piles of leaves in the street or alley and a 50 gallon drum we used to burn paper garbage. But that’s all a memory until today.
France still allows outdoor burning in the spring when the ground is still wet. You can see tendrils of smoke curling into the sky wherever you drive. Farmers clearing fields and vineyards burning old vines. In fact, two smells dominate France in the spring: diesel exhaust and brush fires.
Today I joined Yves and his grandson Brian in a wonderful adventure of burning a big pile of dead branches. The air was pretty cold this morning at eight, so much so we could see our breath. The dew was heavy in the grass, making shoes and pant-legs wet. We piled and piled the stick together, then soaked paper with kerosene and set it aflame. Oh boy, did we have fun! It was really fun to watch Brian play with and poke around the fire under Yves’ watchful eye. It was boy-time! We built the fire higher and higher, and the heat hit us in waves. Soon we were sweating with both the effort and from the radiant heat. After a couple of hours I was soaked with sweat and smoke, thoroughly happy! It was a good morning!