I love an open fire in the winter. The whole process of laying the fire, scrumpling news paper, rolling a few coils and placing kindling gently, finishing with a carefully chosen dry log, builds anticipation for the cosy evening ahead. Then you get to strike a match, watch the flame catch and enjoy the crackle as the flames take hold. Gorgeous!
However, before all that can take place there is the business of stacking the wood that you have remembered to order before you run out. The thought does not fill me with joy. It’s wet out there, and cold, I am going to get dirty, probably damage my knuckles, and have already started the internal grumble that precedes having to do some physical work.
Why is that? Once I get going I invariably enjoy the effort, breathing more deeply than usual, enjoying the scent of the wood and the creation of order from chaos. The feeling I am earning the pleasure of the fireside evening ahead, and contributing to something extra in our winter lives together. I enjoy the sense of my own strength, especially after some surgery a couple of years ago.
That inner grumbling voice is not presenting the truth to me, and yet has so much power to make me huddle in the warmth of the house, keeping dry and safe despite the joys of useful exercise. So, enough of his(?) complaints, I turn my back on them, get out into the fresh air and stacking that wood and getting the blood running! Keeping warm with my own effort.