Let’s gather ‘round the campfire and sing our campfire song.
As these South Central Wisconsin nights get longer and frostier, indoors can start to feel rather stifling. Don’t get me wrong, I love the little nest that I call home. But there’s an occasional Friday night when I feel as if there’s a whole world of wonder that I’m missing out on when I lock onto my couch. When that craving for the night comes knocking, I give word to my boyfriend (shoutout Cole), pull on a sweater and grab my sherpa-lined denim Carhartt vest ($10 at a yard sale this Summer, it’s way too big for me but a major score nonetheless) and my trusty headlamp and head for the garage. There’s usually some wood in there, and some wayward sticks and kindling and such. I dutifully bring the necessary materials onto the driveway where the firepit awaits. I’ve got the gear, I’ve got the moxie and it’s time for a fire.
My enthusiasm to start fires is somewhat recent. During the early days of the pandemic, I spent many nights huddled around a campfire in the backyard staring into the flames and spacing out while listening to music and drinking a fun drink, trying hard to feel hopeful. These days, I see (intentional) fires in the backyard as a celebration. It’s a chance to feel connected, to tap out of scrolling Twitter on my phone or staring at the television, and have a chat with Cole or our upstairs neighbor (if he decides to come down from his lair and chill with us). Cole likes starting fires too and I have learned a bit of technique from watching him get a flame going. There are so many different odds and ends that can make for a good start to a fire (dryer lint, scrap paper bits and pine needles to name a few) but have you ever tried an old Beeswax Wrap? That’s right, those amazing food storage wraps not only help your food breathe but they also breathe life into a fire. Simply cut up your old Beeswax Wrap into half inch strips and bunch loosely to make a brilliant ball that will catch fire with ease.
Fire is fun (so long as you are safe!). It’s clearly laden with nostalgia for me and I’m sure for a lot of you readers out there too. It reminds me of cool evenings where I lost feeling in my nose but was laughing too hard to care or a hearty morning meal cooked on the cast iron after a night sleeping under the stars. It was also around the fading embers of a campfire that Cole and I first exchanged the incendiary phrase “I love you”, and with each passing day, those words burn more true for me. So next time you feel couch-locked, grab your honey or a friend and head for the nearest fire pit. You might find that it’s more fun than you remembered.