A real wood fire or candlelight is key to my happiness as October begins. As the light begins to fail during those hours when I awake for work or stumble home from a long day, fire reminds me that I am safe in an unsafe world. I am on night two of my annual school camping trip, and my spirit is worn through as usual. Teaching and supervising young people is never simple and seldom rewarding, but I am pretty good at it so I carry on for now.
Being outdoors at night offers me a chance to reflect on my life. As a kid I often would go out at 10pm to cross country ski through the farmer’s fields or walk through the woods. The trees and the moon made me feel connected to the world in ways that people never have. I spent a lot of my childhood alone doing the things that whispered my name. I would be outdoors more often were I not in Toronto where the closest interior trails require you to drive for hours and leave your vehicle unprotected at the head of the trail.
While at the campfire tonight all I could think of tonight was how impossible it is to explain my life’s choices, twists and turns; if I cannot understand what was, then what hope do I have to comprehend the now and the future? Perhaps it matters little anyway. Like a rag doll in a hurricane, as long as I stay limp and let the wind take me where it was meant to, then I will be fine.