Sunday, October 24, 2010

First Bonfire

Ready to burn. Dead stuff from our woods provided some youthful entertainment last night.

My daughter wanted a bonfire. So, yesterday she, Jennifer, and I spent about 3 hours hauling cement blocks, kindling and fallen trees I cut up with my chainsaws. It was another beautiful autumn day, clear and sunny but with a gusty breeze that felt cool if not in the sun. Later it became party cloudy. Hopefully, we will get some rain tonight.

When we first bought this property in 1993 I spent virtually every winter trimming trees and cutting vast amounts of privet hedge. I burned many brush piles in those early years at Freebird, the adopted name of my modest 10-acre estate. I would burn them on Saturday afternoons or sometimes take a day of vacation to enjoy the country and burn brush.

My daughter carved this pumpkin and put a candle in it to help give the party a pre-Halloween theme. She and Jennifer decorated things.

But, until last night we have never had a “public” burning at our home. As I said, she wanted a bonfire, a party. 25 or 30 high schoolers came and for awhile were loud and laughing, with hip hop music blasting, in our back yard around the roaring fire pit we had just created and supplied with amble wood from our forest.

It was night, of course, and a full moon to boot. The sky was not as clear as it has been lately. Only the brightest stars were visible. There was thin cloud cover with occasional breaks. The moon arose bright though somewhat veiled. Perfectly round. There was just enough light to vaguely see without a flashlight.

I was grilling late evening burgers and hot dogs. I sat on the tabernacle bench and watched the moon rising above the numerous orange sparkles of the roaring fire (see right) as they faded into the sky, decorating the moon, as it were. There was so much youthful laughter. And in that moment I perceived how beautiful all this was. The youth, the moon, the fire, even the smell of the grill.

Later, after the party shut down a little after 11PM, Jennifer was out admiring a huge ring around the moon last night. I went out to observe it. I’ve seen many rings around moons at night. Jennifer says they are a sign of rain. We need the rain, if it comes.

Jennifer did not consider the party itself beautiful. Her experience of it was different from mine. She thought it was fun and many other things. Well, it was fun. For Jennifer, the beauty was in the ring around the moon later.

Though we connected with differing inspirations for experiencing “the beautiful” what we connected with was nevertheless a shared experience of what might be considered a higher ideal.

This experience of beauty has significance for me. It has to do with something I am currently reading. I’ll post about that soon.

We enjoyed making this bonfire space so much that we intend to leave it all winter long and have lesser fires, camp fires, on clear, still winter nights to come.

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