Burning dead wood (#OneFootInBothWorlds)


160522 All-Day Breakfast—Burning dead wood—#221

I burned the Christmas tree from December. I burned the rotting picnic table. I burned the old twigs and stumps from the dead Manitoba Maple. I burned bark and dry leaves. I burned paper and packaging. I burned cobs of corn and hedge trimmings.

It felt so good.

At the end of the second day I smelled smoky and felt lighter. I felt country.

Our neighbor was eventually attracted by the sights and the smells.

“Did you call in the fire permit?” he asked.

“Yep,” I said. “Or at least, I did yesterday. It’s the same fire, really!” I laughed.

He didn’t laugh, but he did mention that he knew the fire chief. And the fire men. And the volunteers.

“Sometimes they won’t even fine you,” he said, “If they know you, that is.”

I didn’t know any of them. I changed the subject. I told the neighbour that I used to believe fire could smolder in stumps, traverse the root system, and pop up hundreds of feet away.

“Oh no, that’s true,” he told me.

“Shit,” I said.

“I built the fire pit on an old stump,” I said.

“I’m an idiot,” I said.

The neighbor didn’t argue. But he offered some decent advice.

“When you’re done here, just douse it in water,” he said.

“Good advice,” I said.

I went around the back of the house and got the hose.

Whenever I want to be country I feel city, and whenever I want to be city, I feel country.


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All-Day Breakfast is a daily reflection on creativity and the human condition in the modern age. This is issue #221 of 555.

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