One can enjoy a wood fire worthily only when he warms his thoughts by it as well as his hands and feet. ~Odell Shepard
There is a primal connection to the universe when sitting by a campfire, a connection that goes back to our earliest ancestors who sought safety, who sought refuge, who sought warmth against the cold when huddled around the warmth of a campfire. In a sense, it is a return to the warmth of the womb, a return to the place that served all our physical needs when we were but helpless embryos floating comfortably in amniotic fluid, a return to a time when we wanted for nothing.
For me, fire brings peace in solitude, fire stokes intimacy in relationship, fire livens conversation with cherished family & friends, fire evokes joyful memories, memories of many faces, smiling faces highlighted by the flickering light of a dancing campfire, memories of my children laughing raucously in the backyard as we bonded while flames voraciously consumed the wood we fed to it over countless hours of conversation (while my kids fed on raw cicadas).
The fire I sit by tonight consumes the last of my pile of wood while simultaneously filling my heart with the joy of memories, memories of the many lives that have crossed mine, some which blessed me briefly, some that continue to bless me 51 years into my journey, so many lives have touched mine, so many lives have left an indelible print on my heart, a print I frequently recall when the subtle light of a fire illuminates them, so many lives that have enhanced my existence, so many lives that live on in my cherished memories.
So many lives yet not so many that any one of them is superfluous. If even one of those, just a one, had not crossed my path, I would be incomplete.