Thank you for a thoughtful and lengthy post concerning the presidential election. I apologize again for the lateness of my post; it seems that all the food I consumed during Thanksgiving break has muddled my ability to keep track of all my tasks. I find it admirable that you’re able to humbly admit to some of the failures of the well-educated, liberal communities we live in, and our disregard for the true diversity of our country’s political world. Unfortunately, that kind of humility is often construed as hypocrisy which invalidates criticisms of conservative viewpoints. My hope is that both parties are able to govern with humility, understanding that neither one have a clear mandate.
Turning to less pressing matters, let’s talk about fire.
On my way back to campus, I stayed a night at my roommate’s house, which has a circular fire pit in the backyard. He and another friend had chopped a good supply of wood already, and we got it started around 3:30 PM, while the sun was still giving its pale light to the sky, using some cardboard and a blowtorch. The wood was stacked in a cone, to encourage the airflow necessary to get a fire that would sustain itself.
Once it was large enough, we let it burn down a little bit, such that the bottom of the fire pit transformed into a pebbly beach of glowing embers. Then we set a large branch across the top of the fire pit, along with a few fresh logs. Slowly, the center of the branch attenuated, as ash dropped into the fire pit and smoke drifted into the sky, until the two sides split apart, one turning slightly on the edge of the pit, and one almost falling out of the pit, onto the grass underneath. We managed to get the second part of the branch into the pit, and heaved a large, truncated piece of a tree trunk into the fire to keep it burning while we went inside for dinner.
When we returned to the fire pit, our stomachs full of chicken cordon bleu, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, and savory monkey bread, twilight was turning into night. We threw a couple of logs onto the fire, which quickly sprung back out of the confines of the pit. After some brief consideration, we added more logs, and the fire threatened to overwhelm its boundaries, surging over logs which were quickly going from brown to black to scaly white. Heat writhed out and snapped across hands that wandered close. The round lip of the fire pit resembled the set of stones around a campfire more than a fence for the flames.
Late at night, late, as one day tips over into the next like the final arpeggio in Bach’s cello prelude, voices come across a roaring fire as if from underwater. The air above the fire whirls in trembling shimmers. I decide to add to my bucket list: build my own fire.