Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Morning Thanks--we're fireplace people

Even when it's unlit, it's formidable, this stone fireplace of ours. In our 40 years together we've never welcomed such a thing in our home(s), so this whole thing is new.

It requires more work than I'd ever imagined, and I don't even split wood.  For the most part, this winter's fuel is a dead pine I mostly cut up myself this summer.  But I'm constantly stoking the thing, feeding its voracious maw.  We burn wood only when we feel like it and not out of necessity, so we're still working on that fallen Norway; but when I keep it going I've got frequent trips outside. But I take 'em, and it's nice.  I'm not complaining--I'm thankful.

"You're fireplace people," those two interior decorators told us when they came over to scout our "stuff."  They're two generations younger than we are, and we accepted their appraisal as a compliment. "You've got to have a fireplace in your new house--you're fireplace people."

This one really doesn't heat the place much. When it isn't eating up that old Norway pine, it's sucking up heat, really. Still, it's nice, but we'd decided a fireplace was something we didn't really need in this new house we're going to build. Once those young ladies made it clear that we are "fireplace people" however, my wife and I stepped around the house with a bit more arrogance--because, well, we're fireplace people, you know.  Whatever that means.

Well, whatever that means, we like it, so now we're likely going with a fireplace in the new house too, but putting in a fake.  Fred Manfred used to tell me that there's no better therapy for the writer's block I don't think he ever had than an hour or two splitting wood; but Fred was born in and of a different age.  He could also sing the somewhat muted praise of outdoor plumbing and we're not going there either, I tell you.

But we've decided that we're fireplace people now, and when, like yesterday, the wind-chill registers somewhere in the range of 40 below (keeps out the riff-raff, North Dakotans used to say--before the oil), lighting a fire, as I'll do again in just a little while, spreads warmth in body and soul.

This morning again the deathly cold outside is terrifying.  This morning, like yesterday, the two fireplace people in this old new rental house will findgreat comfort and joy when that old stone thing is roaring.  Maybe I'll even write a word or two.

This morning, this impossibly frigid morning, I am once again desperately thankful for a warm house, especially the peculiarly living warmth of that old stone fireplace staring me down just across the room.  

Time to get it going.


Anonymous said...

go gas. no mess

Anonymous said...

Do not burn too much pine, get some dry hardwood like oak or hickory. Pine is like burning paper and burns fast and hot. Pine creates more creosote than dry hardwood so you will need to clean your chimney more often.

I stoke my fire everyday and night.

It is a great heat to fall asleep with.


Anonymous said...

Well! It is a nice thing that you are using traditional fireplace in your house but, I would suggest that you use Eco Smart Fireplace which is a versatile and portable bioethanol and easy to switch on/off.

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Toby Almy said...

Well if you weren’t before, you definitely are now. And that’s ok. Having a fireplace can be a comforting experience, especially on those cold seasons, and a warm fire really hits the spot. But I agree with you. Go gas. No muss, no fuss.

Eugene Head said...

I only burn wood when there’s an ample stock, and when I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for the smell of an old-fashioned fireplace. It sort of helps me get motivated on whatever I’m tackling at the moment near the fire. But when I need to sustain it for long periods of time, I choose to forgo it most of the time because doing it the old way requires me to pay attention to it from time to time.