Last night, I had myself a little campfire in the back yard. I found it distinctly pleasant. It may not have seemed so to the neighbors, whose vented stone wall borders the back of our yard, but hey, we listen to their kids screaming most of the day, and the adults singing (after a fashion), and showering, and vomiting while showering (a curious, inexplicable and less than pleasant habit), so I reckon they can put up with a little smoke sneaking through their vents. Well, maybe more than a little.
There's nothing so cozy as a campfire, the dancing of the flames, the swirling smoke as it interprets the mood of the breeze, the breath of the night, the scent of energy as it transforms its object. I can sit back in my lawn chair (thanks to Vyt Karazija) and just rest in the winking of the firelight, close my eyes, disappear, appear elsewhere, worlds and decades away, still in my boots, wet to my waist, a hot, black coffee at my side and my fishing basket on the table, bearing a catch of worthy brook trout and rainbow and kokanee, tomorrow's breakfast. I can close my eyes and see the slow waltz of the flames from behind my eyelids and hear the lapping of the lake on its shore as the wind picks up, exciting the smoke, sharpening every scent. I hear the metallic clunk of a pan somewhere across the water, soft voices, soft laughter, the dipping of oars in still, dark water as someone else comes home. A lantern lit on the shore, moving among the rocks where the boat will land. The fire dies down. The deep of night descends. A chill touches the tips of the grasses in the meadow, and deer emerge silently from their secret places at the verge of the boundless forest.