Fiery Reflections in 14-Degree Weather

That’s 14 degrees Fahrenheit, by the way, -10 degrees Celsius.  I don’t even know what the wind chill factor is.  An icon from The Weather Channel is flashing the temperature in amber, which represents a severe weather alert. I’ve ventured out for a few short errands–to buy ribbons and cat litter and to get a jug of milk, but I’ve stayed inside–which included playing hooky from church.  (Steph and Susie were planning to anyway, but I wanted to go.  I just felt out of sorts and so I stayed home.  It wasn’t because of the cold–I like cold weather.)

The bonfire was wonderful.  It took place in Carroll, a little dot on the map just off U.S. 33 south of Columbus but before Lancaster.  There were maybe about 20 people in attendance total, not including the kids.  There was a small potluck beforehand, and then around 8 p.m., we all ventured to the sight of where the wood and other flammable (inflammable?) debris was piled.  The whoosh! and the initial blaze was quite impressive.  Tanya and Steph led everyone in the singing of "Chant for the Seasons," written by Mark Belletini, our very own senior minister.  It would have been an even more impressive bonfire had the sky been clearer, especially when you follow the sparks up into the air, but it impressed and enthralled the adults.  Our host even found an old wooden chair to feed to the fire and add to the heat and the light.

I found it surprising that the children lost interest so quickly and went to play some Harry Potter game inside and in the woods surrounding the property.  Kids are usually fascinated by fire–how often do you read in the paper or see on the TV news that a house fire has started because of a kid playing with matches?

When Steph was working at Gladden Community House, the brother of one of Susie’s friends had an unfortunate fascination with fire.  He was playing with matches and burned down his family’s house.  They all escaped with the clothes on their backs and little else.  This didn’t cure him; I would have thought he’d never go near a book of matches again as long as he lived.  His mother was taking him to St. Vincent’s for counseling, but I would think that giving him a tour of the Shriners Hospital for Children in Cincinnati–which specializes in treating burns–would have cured him.  (I don’t know when a kid crosses the line between being interested in fire and outright pyromania.)

Both Steph and I are wondering if being around the fire for so long last night is why we’re feeling so crummy.  As far as I know, we inhaled nothing but wood smoke–I didn’t see anything else in that bonfire last night.  I know the starter was their Christmas tree from last year.  Venturing out into the cold today makes my head feel almost like brain freeze from too much ice cream at once.

I just hope nobody is getting sick.  That’d be a hell of a way to celebrate Christmas.

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