If April showers bring May flowers, what do April snow flurries do?
That’s the question I ask myself as I sit here in my home “office,” which is actually a solarium I’ve converted into my do-all-the-stuff-I-do space. It has windows on three sides. I look out on an small field, and the mixed forest beyond.
It’s April 5, 2013, and it’s snowing. April is too late for snow, even in Canada, but there’s nothing one can do about the weather, or about most things if the truth be known. Best just to accept and enjoy.
When it snows, my view looks something like this:
In the spirit of acceptance and enjoyment, I will do what many Canadians do on cold autumn nights (even though it’s spring and I’m supposed to be looking at yellow daffodils instead of white fluff): I will light a fire in the hearth, curl up with a good book, and a glass of red wine. (Any excuse for wine I say.)
There’s something about a fire that warms the soul, as well as the body.
A couple of weeks ago in my writing group the prompt for our warm-up exercise was, appropriately, “warmth.” The four of us sat around a wood burning stove at Anne’s house, where we meet from 9:30 to 11:30 every Friday morning. Naturally, the thing that found its way to my fingers, the keyboard and now you, was the warmth of the fire.
What is it about the warmth of a wood-burning stove that makes it unlike any other?Is it different because it’s accompanied by the sound of the logs being consumed, fulfilling a final purpose as they are transformed into ashes? Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.
In its fullness, the fire sound combines several others and is hard to describe. It comprises versions of the whistle of the wind through still-living branches (but, unlike the wind, it’s a deep and constant whistle, more like a whir perhaps?). And there’s crackling of course, and crinkling too, like that which is produced when you scrunch up the cellophane wrap in which cut flowers are stiffly swaddled at the grocery store.
I’m a slow writer, and there’s rarely enough time in the five-minute exercise window for me to complete a piece. I don’t think I captured the sound of fire in words, but I once did on video. This is how it sounded and looked at my mother’s home in the fall of 2009:
I recorded it so I could always remember what it felt like to be in her home, warm, and cozy, and safe.
Now that home is just a house where we once lived. I don’t expect to ever go back there again. But it doesn’t matter. I still feel the warmth of the fire across time and space, even in the midst of April flurries.