But in spite of that, after a day in the outdoors,
we built a fire. A small fire. A "hat" fire, which mountain people
define as one you can put in your hat. Why so small? Because it was
hot and we didn't need the heat. Why the fire? Because we need the
It is the hearth. It is the touchstone to our past. It is a link
with countless generations of ancestors who have sat here looking at
the flames licking up on the chunks of firewood and taking us back
endless years, countless years, to what was then. Through the flames
and later the glow of the coals, we can see things that we can't see
at any other time. We can hear music in the crackling. We can be
comforted by the fire, which is our best friend as well as a
potential destroyer, at the same time.
How many times have we looked into the flames of a small fire, just
like this? It's beyond counting. Sometimes the fire has been in a
fireplace with all kinds of louvers and vents and controls, and yet
even then we shut off the lights and sat quietly, looking into the
fire and taking ourselves back to our beginnings. It is important
that we do this, so important to our emotional health that we
willingly pay extra for a modern city house or apartment that has a
It doesn't make any sense at all.
No sense at all until you look into the fire and those same
questions come along. Who am I? Am I doing what I'm supposed to be
doing? Is my life being spent for the right things? What more can I
[to top of second
Do we remember other fires in
faraway places? Places where the weather is different, the animals
are different, the people are different. Remember using wood from
other kinds of trees? Remember sitting around the fire with others
who are only with us now during these quiet times by the fire and in
the sanctuary of memory?
We ask ourselves these
questions, but the answers can only be found in the silent glowing
of the coals, and we can only hope we stack up right in the long
Because when we look into the coals, at the end of a long day, it's
our way of going home.
[Text from file received from
Ol' Jimmy Dollar
is Slim Randles' first children's book. The book is for kids
K-3rd grades and is even better when parents read it with children.
Ol' Jimmy Dollar makes for sweet dreams and if you have a dog
even better. Available now on Amazon.