September 20, 2009

On fire

My favourite classroom

Before pulling out of my driveway early this morning, I had to scrape the frost off my windows. When I arrived at pine forest where I’d be spending the day with students, the sun had risen but the air temperature was still just in the 40s. Luckily, Chemistry Professor remembered to bring matches. “Of course we have to build a fire,” she said. “It’s a chemical reaction.”

A campfire enhances any discussion. The crackling sound of the fire fills the spaces between words so that pauses never feel awkward. Shy students feel more comfortable because no one is looking at them: everyone stares into the flames, almost as if they’re mesmerized. And we all sit close together, drawn together by the heat.

A campfire can make a group of random students feel like family, as we sit by the flames and share stories and talk about the landscape around us. Before dark, we gathered at the fire once again to make S’mores. Any day that ends with melted chocolate is a good day.

By the campfire


BrightenedBoy said...

The positive implications of fire are a recurring theme on this blog. In depictions of camp fires and smaller affairs at home in your fireplace, you speak of the warmth and brightness of the flames, the crackling of logs, and the scent of the wood, framed always by flowing conversation or quiet, cozy nights with family.

I love reading about it.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

There's no underbrush in that forest. Is that typical?

jo(e) said...

BB: I'm sure the climate here is part of it -- we appreciate the warmth of a fire!

Jennifer: Not much light makes it through the canopy in that particular stand of trees.

Lomagirl said...

We had s'mores tonight for dessert- made off the flame of our gas stove, but still good. The air is getting chilly, but not for long.

comebacknikki said...

I want that smore! NOW!