Tuesday, February 10, 2009


If Samhein is a good time of year to set goals and then let them germinate through Yule, Imbolc, for me, is the shot-in-the-arm time, the pep talk, the time to really use that extra fire that comes with the longer-lasting sunlight and the occasional Spring-like day. (And Eostara's about play, something not reserved for maidens. I'll have more to say about this soon.) People who work off of the secular calendar often set new goals on January 1st and then dive right in. By now, though, the gyms are starting to seem a bit less crowded: people are beginning to flag.

I've been thinking a lot about fire, lately. About how one ignites it and how one keeps it lit. There's not much fire in my chart, and I've always kind of used that as an excuse to have an indifferent reltionship with fire. When I had to, I just relied on my earthy stubbornness to get me through. But I need it: I need more fire in my life. I've finally satisfied some of my earthy and watery needs for security and material comfort and structure and, now, at almost 53, I find myself needing more fire.

And, so, after living in this house for six years, I finally got the chimney cleaned so that I could start having fires. I had one; it was nice. I tried to have another one and somehow screwed up the draft; smoke all over the living room. I cleaned that up, learned how to start a good draft, and had a third fire. It broke the glass fireplace screen. I ordered a new one. It got delayed in production. You can't make this stuff up.

Today, my new screen arrived and I managed to get it inside and assembled all by myself. Even though it's rather warm this evening, I'm going to have a fire. If you hear tomorrow about an old woman and a cat burned in a freak fireplace accident, you'll know it was me. I am going to make a special offering to the house elves before I strike a match.

Image found here.

Update: Of course, when I went out to get the wood, the pile of what I thought was firewood on the backporch was nothing but FatLogs, used to start fires, but no actual firewood. As I said, you can't make this stuff up. I'll get some firewood and try again this weekend when it's supposed to turn cold again. Meanwhile, I love the Universe's sense of humor.


Mama Kelly said...

I love being able to have a fire when we want one. We don't do it often enough.

Your post really makes me want one but I dont think it will be cold enough (at least according to for another week.


Terraluna said...

Fire is my fourth most favorite element.(Triple Taurus, me - earth through and through.) But my new home is very fiery, with a huge 1940's era gas stove and a large gas wall furnace. The first circle in this house honored fire, the second was Yule. And the house seems to like me, so I guess fire and I are coming to terms.

I'm also celebrating 53 soon. Perhaps it's a trend. I'll have to look into getting the chimney cleaned.

Anonymous said...

Here's hoping I don't read about a woman and a cat killed in a freak accident. I quite like your cat...heh
Great blog :)

Anne Johnson said...

I would wait until Saturday if I were you. This little burst of springtime isn't going to last.

lambert strether said...


Tips on fire, since I heat my part of the house with wood. General principle: The more complete the combustion, the more sustainable.

1. You're losing too much heat in a fireplace. Go for a stove.

2. Be sure to clean the chimney; creosote builds up and catches fire.

3. Next year, get (and stack) two years worth of wood (itself already a year old). Then, next year, you'll have a complete stack aged two years. Then you can order years worth, and on, and on, and on. The drier the wood, the better the combustion.

4. Put a kettle on top of the stove; the water, evaporated, helps avoid flu (wood heat is very dry).

All for the present.

Anonymous said...

Behnke's will deliver properly aged firewood to your house for a reasonable fee.

Of course, then you have to stack it.

But I could be persuaded to come over and help were cocktails in the offing.


Anonymous said...

See also this over at Susie's place.