We had a cold, rainy weekend here, a grey weekend suited for staying home and getting organized for the winter ahead. I love the chilly weather. It felt good to stay indoors, cosy in a fleece hoodie, fleece sweatpants, and down booties, an outfit I'll be wearing until about April. I love the sound of rain hitting glass, and I know that soon that rain will turn to snow.
The best thing, though, is that the house was chilly enough for a fire. The warmth and smell of a crackling fire draws everyone close, making the hearth the center of our home. What I especially love about a fire is that it makes relaxing in a comfy chair - or on the floor with some big pillows - seem like a meaningful occupation. I can spend hours just staring into the flames.
Saturday, I sat cosily in a chair by the fire and listened while Boy in Black and his friends hung out all around me, talking and joking. This morning, my mother-in-law sat on the couch in front of the fire, reading the Sunday newspaper. This afternoon, my parents stopped by on their way home from a wet hike at Pretty Colour Lakes. "If you go when it's raining, you have the whole park to yourselves," my father said cheerily. I made hot tea for them, and we settled down in front of the fire to talk. Late Sunday afternoon after my parents and all the extra kids had gone home, we had a family meeting, all of us listening to the logs crack and spark while we renegotiated chores, rules about computer use, and bedtimes -- and I announced severe punishments for anyone caught tossing stuff behind the couch. This evening, I sat in front of the fire, snuggled under a quilt, and read everything I needed to read for class tomorrow.
As I was putting With-a-Why to bed tonight (he sleeps in his sister's room instead of the boys' room while she is gone at college because his brothers stay up later than he does), he kept saying, "Can't I sleep by the fire?" On Fridays and Saturdays, most of the kids do sleep on the living room floor, partially because there is really no where else to put them all, but also because they like to be near the fire. And I admit, I sleep on the floor by the fire sometimes myself. There is something wonderfully reassuring about drifting off to sleep in the presence of all those glowing red coals.