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Campfires: A Kindling

Write about a memory related to a campfire.

I have mixed feelings about campfires.

Campfires remind me of camping in our camper. We started with a pull-behind trailer that we never pulled anywhere. We traded that in for a destination trailer we moved three times. During those camping years, I wanted to be sitting around campfires with old and new friends. I enjoyed those conversations and doing campfire activities.

But, there are things about campfires I don’t enjoy.

The smoke makes my hair and my clothes smell. Marshmallows are sticky. Mosquitoes bite. I have to apply bug spray, which makes my skin smell and feel sticky. It seems there is an ideal distance for being near a campfire–close enough for warmth without getting burned. Shifting position needs to happen to avoid blowing smoke and flying sparks.

Yet, I allow–sometimes force–myself to approach the fire.

Sometimes I have mixed feelings about people, too. Not that people emit an odor strong enough to permeate my hair and clothes, although certain circles and activities can be more odoriferous than others. But, sometimes being with people…stinks. Some people-situations are sticky. Words bite. Most of these occasions are too benign for something like mace, but is there a repellent for mean, irritating, and rude people? Transference of these behaviors can be all too real. It seems there is a similar ideal distance for being near people–close enough for warmth without getting burned. Shifting position needs to happen to avoid blowing smoke and flying sparks.

Yet, I allow–sometimes force–myself to approach these people.

I don’t have to remain camped with them. Sometimes we encounter people on our journey we would never invite with us on extended vacation. Never mind a quarantine! But, there’s something about a fire that illuminates the stories about our darkest moments. Maybe in those times we allow–if not force–ourselves to approach the people sharing the fire with us.

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