Putting out fires with tea

September 29, 2009 Candace Morris 3 Comments

Let me set the scene for you.

It’s the coldest day of the changing seasons.
The clouds portent more rain to come. I’m finally home from the 1.5 hour long drive from where I USED to live (which is only half of the time I spent in my car today). I’m starving. I’m cold. I’m alone.

I let myself into this place we are now calling home, and decide that I shall make a fire, heat up the leftover chicken noodle mom brought over the weekend, toast up the remaining pieces of rosemary bread, and read my book.

It sounds so simple and perfect.
Only tonight, this place has decided that I am oil and it is water and we shall not be melding.

Okay, so my relationship with building a good fire has lots of issues attached to it.
It (like many other things I may have previously mentioned), seems to be another chink towards earning my black-belt in womanhood.* But I have never, EVER been good at it. Despite all efforts in “leave me alone, I know what I am doing,” and countless lessons from people, I cannot seem to do it well.

But this time it will be different.
I get plenty of kindling, a bunch of newspaper, and three dry logs from my new wood-shed. But as I am in the process, all of a sudden HHHUUUUGGGEEE amounts, PUFFS, BILLOWS of smoke start pouring out of the stove. The fire alarm goes off, my timer for the soup goes off, and I decide the food can wait because I need a fire for the whole ambiance.

After I open the windows to let the smoke (and cold!) in,
I push back my sleeves, get on my knees, and start attending to this fire like any good country-girl would do. I make oxygen pockets, I whistle-blow the shit out of it, I freaking pray.


NOTHING.


Now, as evidenced by my most recent entry, I have had a rather grim perspective these last few days about this transition. I am struggling to find the romance and purpose in this move, and I know I will feel better soon, but I tell you – this friiiggggeeenn-A fire isn’t helping the matter. PLUS, one of the benefits to this cultural change was the acquiring of a new skill set (chopping wood, wearing Wellies, tending fields, MAKING FIRES), and if I cannot master it...it's all just really getting me down.

My soup is now cold. My re-toasted bread now just crunchy.

I finally…finally decide that it’s not worth it. I find the saint’s favorite sweatshirt, pull the hood over my smoke infused hair, reheat my soup and eat my big ol’ dinner of disappointment like any good city-girl would do.

And then I start to feel my fingers itch for the keyboard, but remember that I have no internet. So here I am, using MS Word to write this and then upload it at the library during my tutoring session 20 minutes away.

But in order to write, I certainly need a cup of tea. And it there is one thing I’ve learned tonight. It’s this:

If I can’t make a fire, I can sure as hell make a good cup of tea, damn it.** Country, city – both of these create plenty of fodder for writing. It is in that cozy little slice of knowledge where I will continue to warm up to myself again and again.




*Perhaps what really needs to happen here is the definition of womanhood per CRM. Hmmm.

**That IS, unless the milk you pour into your Earl Gray curdles and you have to dump it out and start over. No comment.

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