There is certainly no better time to write this blog than now, sitting among my family and friends enjoying the glowing embers, the quiet evening, and the nearly cloudless night sky. What makes the perfect campfire? someone asked. As with any question a variety of opinions quickly cropped up, but I-being one of the most vocal in the group-think I have come up with the recipe for a perfect campfire. A tall order to fill, my sister quickly pointed out, but I have heard little in terms of disagreement.
As with most camping trips, the day will start shortly after the sun rises, a multitude of possibilities for how to spend the coming hours lie before you. Will you be hiking? Spending the day on the water? Enjoying a picnic? A scenic drive? A short trip into a neighboring town? Fishing? Reading a book that has been on your list for longer than you would care to admit? Or simply spending time with those around you? Any way you spin it, the perfect campfire starts with a day filled with relaxing activity that takes your mind off of the daily stressors you have put aside for the weekend.
The heat of the day is finally wearing off, maybe you are just about to make dinner or maybe you just finished a taste bud pleasing dish. The bugs are settling in, and it is time to reclaim your once pleasant campsite. As a child, I was taught that there are two easy options for setting up a fire, the “tent” and the “log cabin.” The names give away more than they should, one of these layouts is very sturdy but a little harder to get burning; and, the other, though not a clear winner on stability will go up in flames in half the time. Once the logs are on fire, it is simply a matter of maintaining the flames-that is until you are ready to begin the cooking of one of the world’s best desserts.
Next up is a variety of great conversations, games, memories, and of course the guitar is brought out for some of your favorite tunes. Nothing serves as a better bonding agent than the singing of off-key songs, at least that is how it works in our family. The best however, is yet to come. S’mores! S’mores are a delectable, culturally significant, camping icon. I would almost go as far to say that if you have not had a perfectly cooked s’more you have not lived, or at the very least, you have been missing out. Your stomachs are now officially filled to maximum capacity, and the sun has finally set. Many would argue that this collection offers the perfect combination and would qualify as a top notch campfire. Unfortunately, you would be wrong to stop here.
What would a campfire be without the telling of creatively devious tales that rest on the edge of plausibility, and leave you questioning your safety, sanity, and motives. From creatures that go bump in the night and Halloween style monsters to talking snowmen and friendly forest animals, there is no limit to the portal you may step through. I have found this to be increasingly true when you allow the youngsters of the group to take over the twisting plot. Once everyone has had a chance to give their two cents, silence takes over. Nothing left in the fire pit but embers, you realize that there is very little that could compete with this experience, the perfect campfire. Quietly you glance from the embers to the starry sky above and appreciate all that nature has to offer.