i really wanted to give you warm crackling camp fires. you know, the kind you hold a marshmallow laden stick over. the kind where you sit with friends and rub sore calf muscles, laughing about the time you thought you saw a bear and almost peed your pants on the trail. or better yet, the kind you crawl out of your tent for because the scent of sizzling bacon and bubbling eggs wafted through that bit of mesh above your head. thats probably my favorite kind. i can still to this day taste the breakfast my dad cooked for us in his blackest of blacks iron skillet when i was seven, shivering in the cool morning air outside our tent. delicious i tell you.
i thought about giving you the big massive roar of the fall bonfire. did you do those? we did. every year without fail. my dad would haul brush to the back pasture. of course at first the pile would be pitiful, more of a blight than anything. but over the course of a year it would grow and grow until it was this huge asymmetrical grey spiny mound. my brother and i would trudge down there and inspect it. walk around it. speculate on just how tall it really was, taller than the house? maybe. taller than a sky scrapper? no way. yes huh. well, maybe. and then the summer would break, and you could taste that twinge of fall in the air, right at the back of your throat and you knew it was almost time. school might start up, that was the worst. fidgeting in your desk wondering if maybe today was the day dad would light it. but you would race home, dump your backpack in the drive and sprint down the hill to the pile. still there. maybe tomorrow. early one saturday morning you would hear the old blue truck rumble to life and head around back. sliding out of bed, you would creep down the stairs to the landing and peer out through the dusty panes and see dad dumping out hay bales haphazardly around the pasture. later you would find him on the tallest ladder ever stringing lights through the tree tops. on sunday two old claw-footed bathtubs would appear near the deck, leaving no doubt that next saturday was the day. only six days of waiting. the actual saturday was always the worst, you never wished for the sun to drop fast on any other day of the year. but this day, the longest day, it seem to take months to get dark. but finally you would notice your shadow tagging along behind you and you would find your brother and weave in and out of the people scattered around in small bunches here and there to stand right in front of the pile. as close as allowed by your mom. then two or three men would help dad sprinkle kerosene on the pile. then came the wands of newspaper, already lit, arching through the air towards the timbers newly baptized, and whoooosh. flames. little at first, licking around the bottom, working their way up the middle, until finally finally the very tip top would catch. and wouldnt you know, the sun was gone and now all you could see were millions of tiny embers dancing in the air, working their way up to heaven. the heat of the bonfire would push everyone back, conversations would lull and eyes would always stray back to the yellow orange flames. you would run back and stand there until you just knew your cheeks were flaming too and then dash back over to the bathtubs now full of ice and drinks and plunge your hands in to feel the cold. the longest night of the of the year, laying on a hay bale, so tired but refusing to go inside until every last bit of fire was gone. did you do those? you should.
Labels: natural elements