When I wrote this, I had a woodstove. Ironically, my thumbnail image for this is a gas fireplace. That’s just where I’m at now!
I hope I am right in saying that maybe life is like keeping a fire as your main heat source.
It takes a lot of practice to start a good fire. In the beginning. You have to waste a lot of paper and use a lot of kindling to get it going. Even then it may fizzle out and leave you with a dirty black pile of mess. You may then just get disgusted with the whole idea wrap a blanket around yourself and sit in the dark as your nose grows colder and colder from the lack of heat.
Eventually you get bored of sitting in the dark and have another go at the fire. Maybe this time you remember what worked last time and what didn’t. Slowly but surely you learn to start a fire that starts quickly and warms you up on a consistent basis. Once you have a good fire going you can manipulate it to some extent. You can shove the logs to the back and add a huge piece of wood and be pretty sure that it will catch on fire from the coals that have been established. You can even sit back and let it smolder down into a bed of orange coals- you know how long you can let it sit like that. Your gut will tell you when to pop the next log on.
Sometimes you have to let a fire go out completely for some reason. Your space will stay warm for a awhile but eventually you need to build a new fire again. building a fire when you are cold and tired can be difficult, no matter how much of an experienced fire builder you are. Sometime you do silly things you know will not work. You want a short cut. “Maybe I can start this fire with these envelopes crumpled up and stuffed under this big half-burned log”
No. It never works. You must go our into the woodshed for kindling. But only a little. The most amazing parallel between life and building a fire to me is that you can start a tiny and pathetic looking fire with a little paper and a few twigs, it can smoke for a while and look like it’s going to fizzle out, then it can explode into an inferno right before your eyes. There is so much potential for success.