It Only Takes A Spark

We're in the process of fixing up our house so we can put it on the market. It's funny that, the more stuff we're getting accomplished, the longer the to-do list gets. Last Saturday morning I trimmed some of the tree limbs that were overhanging the house. Tree trimming is a maddening task because it's rewarding to actually cut the branches and see the difference it makes, but you then have to clean up the mess you made which isn't fulfilling and rather time consuming. You have to drag limbs away, break them down into smaller pieces and dispose of them properly. But ah, the disposing- now there's a treat. In my world there's only one proper way to dispose of the branches: burn them.

"Hello, my name is Steve and I'm a pyromaniac." [insert united support group response: "We love you, Steve." here]. I'm sure I'm not the only one, because most red-blooded American males have a certain fascination with burning things. Perhaps it's the pure power of the flame that makes it so attractive. Wielding a power capable of annihilating wood, plastics, and children's toys is rather seductive. I was able to cultivate my skills during my years as a Boy Scout. I bet if I took one of those career placement tests, the kind that tells you what job you'd be best suited for, mine would be an arsonist. You'd think I'd grow out of it by now, but I never have. I resonate with a quote from the early nineties philosopher Beavis who proclaimed, "Fire! Fire! Fire!"

Last summer I bought a burn barrel to use in the backyard. Growing up in rural/suburban area, we could just burn stuff out in the open and not worry about anyone saying anything. In my area of well-manicured lawns and Home Owners Associations, however, I'm not even sure if burning my branches in the burn barrel is legal. Fortunately, I have cool neighbors who aren't rats so I haven't been visited by the police lately. We'll see how long that lasts.

So Sunday and Monday evenings I burned some of the branches I cut down. Not a lot, mind you, but enough to get my clothes smelling like camping. It was wonderful. Yesterday as I was working in the backyard, the wonderful smell still permeated the air, a reminder of the previous nights work. I went over to the barrel only to discover there was still heat emanating from it; the fire was still going. I guess I should've found it alarming that I left the fire burning in my backyard overnight [and through the early afternoon]. But I was sort of proud of my little fire. It had the guts to keep going throughout the night and produce heat on a ninety degree day.

I took a moment, then I got back to work.

I've got lots of stuff left to burn, so I'll be back soon to my fire barrel. Until then, I'll be hearing these lyrics in my head:

"Close your eyes, give me your hand, do you feel my heart beating?
Do you understand?
Do you feel the same?
Am I only dreaming?
Or is this burning an eternal flame?"