The Elements of Fire and Writing

The Flame

Cooler nights here recently prompted the need to light the woodstove and with that comes the gathering of kindling. (My job.) We’re surrounded by it. After every gale, I play “pick up sticks” around the yard, hauling buckets of twigs to the house or breaking branches into smaller counterparts. Yet, it never feels like drudgery. To me, it’s a daily opportunity to check the foliage, breathe in crisp air, stretch my legs, and pretend it’s exercise. It’s also a blessing in disguise, having a ready supply simply because the wind blew the night before.

The Man Of Few Words takes care of the big stuff, bringing home tree trunks in two foot lengths and splitting them into woodstove-sized chunks. I love the sound of his maul in the front yard. Clunk. Chink. Clunk. Chink. He’s as steady and patient about splitting wood as any other aspect of his life. I also don’t take it for granted that he does it at the end of his work day and maybe that’s why I love cooking so much… feeding the tired, hungry love of my life is as comforting as a crackling fire.

My adjunct part of the deal is to carry in an adequate amount of wood depending on the weather. Rain in the forecast? Better bring in a couple days’ worth. (If all else fails, pile it on the back porch and tarp the rest.) It takes teamwork to keep the home fires burning. So far we’ve only had to run the furnace twice; once because it unexpectedly rained for three days straight and we ran out of wood (early in the season) and once because we were too lazy to get up in the middle of the night to stoke the stove. We’re more self-indulgent in our “old-er” age.

It also occurred to me that writing is similar to tending a woodstove. Three elements are required for the success of either.

thoughts = fuel

words = oxygen

writing = heat



creates an exothermic reaction

(more energy is emitted than the combined energy of the elements)



has the same effect


the world needs heartwarming words

Writing and woodstoves require ritual and it feels good to get back to both.

Enjoying fanning the creative flames,

~ Kimby