Fond of Fire

Depositphotos_3717756_XLBy Mary Jo

Taming fire was surely one of the most significant developments in human history.  Probably the discovery happened numerous times and numerous places, but the results were profound. Fire provided warmth, hot food, the ability to venture out into darkness, fire pottery and bricks.

It could also be a tool for long distance communication.  There's a marvelous scene in The Return of the King, the third Lord of the Rings movie, where signal fires are lit to summon the troops to battle.  It's breathtaking to watch the fires catch on distant peaks.

 

But fire is also a dangerous friend that can destroy homes and whole cities. Wildfires cause massive destruction of property and wildlife and human lives.

In the era of open fireplaces and long skirts, women sometime burned to death when their skirts caught fire.  (I had a scene like that in my book Shattered Rainbows, though naturally my hero pulled the heroine away from the hearth and managed to put the flames out before she was hurt.)  But the threat was very real in those days.)

Modern homes are generally warmed and lit with electricity, but the fascination with fire seems inherent, which is why kids have to be Depositphotos_391889416_XLtold DON'T PLAY WITH MATCHES!

But fire is a powerful element of many social rituals.  Think of the campfires that are so much a part of many childhood memories, of ghost stories and s'mores.   Think of barbecues, which allow manly men to burn meat and drink beer! <G> 

I have some cherished fire memories of our two visits to South African and Botswana.  There the "boma" is a fire pit that people gather around to eat, drink, and socialize.  It's such a cherished of social life that I was in several restaurants that featured indoor bomas.

Of course fireplaces are common in Western homes and restaurants as well. They're a selling point in real estate listings.  It's also now possible to buy electric fireplaces that create a very good illusion of flames without the danger of real fires–perfect for apartments.

Depositphotos_103445948_XLWhich is good, because fires are wonderfully social.  They offer peace, relaxation, and fellowship.  Watching a fire can even lower blood pressure,  Watching flames can be rather hypnotic (as is watching wave roll in on a beach.) Sitting with friends by a fire can be conducive to deeper, more intimate conversations.  They're romantic, too, because who doesn't like the idea of curling up in front of the fire with a loved one?

I've written a few scenes like that as well. Can you think of a favorite scene in a book where a fire is the inspiration for good things happening? IMG_3702

Heck, as soon as I finish this post, I'm going to go down to our (gas) fire to read and sip Sleepytime tea with one or two cats on my lap. (Panda and Princess Flufferbella, to be precise.)  

The picture at the right is of Panda and the late Spook relaxing by the fire.  It isn't just humans who love the warmth of fire. <G>

Cuddling with friends by the fire is a wonderful way to end a cold, gray January day!

Mary Jo

60 thoughts on “Fond of Fire”

  1. I no longer live in a home with a fireplace, but I did love that fireplace. The best thing to me is being outside with a fire and watching flames and hearing the crackling.
    Now I live in Texas, we have droughts and outdoor fires are few and far between. Where did that come from “few and far between”? That could be a task for one of you wonderful people who research.

    Reply
  2. I no longer live in a home with a fireplace, but I did love that fireplace. The best thing to me is being outside with a fire and watching flames and hearing the crackling.
    Now I live in Texas, we have droughts and outdoor fires are few and far between. Where did that come from “few and far between”? That could be a task for one of you wonderful people who research.

    Reply
  3. I no longer live in a home with a fireplace, but I did love that fireplace. The best thing to me is being outside with a fire and watching flames and hearing the crackling.
    Now I live in Texas, we have droughts and outdoor fires are few and far between. Where did that come from “few and far between”? That could be a task for one of you wonderful people who research.

    Reply
  4. I no longer live in a home with a fireplace, but I did love that fireplace. The best thing to me is being outside with a fire and watching flames and hearing the crackling.
    Now I live in Texas, we have droughts and outdoor fires are few and far between. Where did that come from “few and far between”? That could be a task for one of you wonderful people who research.

    Reply
  5. I no longer live in a home with a fireplace, but I did love that fireplace. The best thing to me is being outside with a fire and watching flames and hearing the crackling.
    Now I live in Texas, we have droughts and outdoor fires are few and far between. Where did that come from “few and far between”? That could be a task for one of you wonderful people who research.

    Reply
  6. I agree that fires can be very cozy. We do not have a fireplace, but we have candles and oil lamps. My husband also bought an indoor fire bowl because he so loves a fire. (Search etsy for indoor concrete fire bowl to see what’s out there.)
    I’m trying to think of a book featuring a good fire scene, Mary Jo, but I’m drawing a blank. Drawing a blank is another interesting expression, @Annette N.

    Reply
  7. I agree that fires can be very cozy. We do not have a fireplace, but we have candles and oil lamps. My husband also bought an indoor fire bowl because he so loves a fire. (Search etsy for indoor concrete fire bowl to see what’s out there.)
    I’m trying to think of a book featuring a good fire scene, Mary Jo, but I’m drawing a blank. Drawing a blank is another interesting expression, @Annette N.

    Reply
  8. I agree that fires can be very cozy. We do not have a fireplace, but we have candles and oil lamps. My husband also bought an indoor fire bowl because he so loves a fire. (Search etsy for indoor concrete fire bowl to see what’s out there.)
    I’m trying to think of a book featuring a good fire scene, Mary Jo, but I’m drawing a blank. Drawing a blank is another interesting expression, @Annette N.

    Reply
  9. I agree that fires can be very cozy. We do not have a fireplace, but we have candles and oil lamps. My husband also bought an indoor fire bowl because he so loves a fire. (Search etsy for indoor concrete fire bowl to see what’s out there.)
    I’m trying to think of a book featuring a good fire scene, Mary Jo, but I’m drawing a blank. Drawing a blank is another interesting expression, @Annette N.

    Reply
  10. I agree that fires can be very cozy. We do not have a fireplace, but we have candles and oil lamps. My husband also bought an indoor fire bowl because he so loves a fire. (Search etsy for indoor concrete fire bowl to see what’s out there.)
    I’m trying to think of a book featuring a good fire scene, Mary Jo, but I’m drawing a blank. Drawing a blank is another interesting expression, @Annette N.

    Reply
  11. We have occasionally had to rely on a fire in the fireplace for heat when the power has gone out. That’s when you realize what an inefficient way it is to keep warm. One side of you is being baked while the other side is chilling. But there’s something about sitting by the fire staring at the flames…
    Don’t I remember Robin and Maxie making fires as they tramped their way to London in Angel Rogue? Or am I making that up because I loved sitting around the campfire back in the days when we used to go camping.

    Reply
  12. We have occasionally had to rely on a fire in the fireplace for heat when the power has gone out. That’s when you realize what an inefficient way it is to keep warm. One side of you is being baked while the other side is chilling. But there’s something about sitting by the fire staring at the flames…
    Don’t I remember Robin and Maxie making fires as they tramped their way to London in Angel Rogue? Or am I making that up because I loved sitting around the campfire back in the days when we used to go camping.

    Reply
  13. We have occasionally had to rely on a fire in the fireplace for heat when the power has gone out. That’s when you realize what an inefficient way it is to keep warm. One side of you is being baked while the other side is chilling. But there’s something about sitting by the fire staring at the flames…
    Don’t I remember Robin and Maxie making fires as they tramped their way to London in Angel Rogue? Or am I making that up because I loved sitting around the campfire back in the days when we used to go camping.

    Reply
  14. We have occasionally had to rely on a fire in the fireplace for heat when the power has gone out. That’s when you realize what an inefficient way it is to keep warm. One side of you is being baked while the other side is chilling. But there’s something about sitting by the fire staring at the flames…
    Don’t I remember Robin and Maxie making fires as they tramped their way to London in Angel Rogue? Or am I making that up because I loved sitting around the campfire back in the days when we used to go camping.

    Reply
  15. We have occasionally had to rely on a fire in the fireplace for heat when the power has gone out. That’s when you realize what an inefficient way it is to keep warm. One side of you is being baked while the other side is chilling. But there’s something about sitting by the fire staring at the flames…
    Don’t I remember Robin and Maxie making fires as they tramped their way to London in Angel Rogue? Or am I making that up because I loved sitting around the campfire back in the days when we used to go camping.

    Reply
  16. I do like my fire in the winter time but Lord I hate cleaning it out! We are thinking of changing to a wood burning stove as coal is gone so expensive here. We’re only allowed to burn a certain type of coal now and it’s way more costly than the old stuff.
    Still there’s nothing like an open fire on a winter’s day. Sheer Heaven!!!

    Reply
  17. I do like my fire in the winter time but Lord I hate cleaning it out! We are thinking of changing to a wood burning stove as coal is gone so expensive here. We’re only allowed to burn a certain type of coal now and it’s way more costly than the old stuff.
    Still there’s nothing like an open fire on a winter’s day. Sheer Heaven!!!

    Reply
  18. I do like my fire in the winter time but Lord I hate cleaning it out! We are thinking of changing to a wood burning stove as coal is gone so expensive here. We’re only allowed to burn a certain type of coal now and it’s way more costly than the old stuff.
    Still there’s nothing like an open fire on a winter’s day. Sheer Heaven!!!

    Reply
  19. I do like my fire in the winter time but Lord I hate cleaning it out! We are thinking of changing to a wood burning stove as coal is gone so expensive here. We’re only allowed to burn a certain type of coal now and it’s way more costly than the old stuff.
    Still there’s nothing like an open fire on a winter’s day. Sheer Heaven!!!

    Reply
  20. I do like my fire in the winter time but Lord I hate cleaning it out! We are thinking of changing to a wood burning stove as coal is gone so expensive here. We’re only allowed to burn a certain type of coal now and it’s way more costly than the old stuff.
    Still there’s nothing like an open fire on a winter’s day. Sheer Heaven!!!

    Reply
  21. Okay, Annette, I just googled “few and far between,” as one does *G*, and the phrase appears to date from the 1600s. The meaning is pretty clear, but I didn’t dig deep enough to find the origins. Oh, well….

    Reply
  22. Okay, Annette, I just googled “few and far between,” as one does *G*, and the phrase appears to date from the 1600s. The meaning is pretty clear, but I didn’t dig deep enough to find the origins. Oh, well….

    Reply
  23. Okay, Annette, I just googled “few and far between,” as one does *G*, and the phrase appears to date from the 1600s. The meaning is pretty clear, but I didn’t dig deep enough to find the origins. Oh, well….

    Reply
  24. Okay, Annette, I just googled “few and far between,” as one does *G*, and the phrase appears to date from the 1600s. The meaning is pretty clear, but I didn’t dig deep enough to find the origins. Oh, well….

    Reply
  25. Okay, Annette, I just googled “few and far between,” as one does *G*, and the phrase appears to date from the 1600s. The meaning is pretty clear, but I didn’t dig deep enough to find the origins. Oh, well….

    Reply
  26. Lil, you’re right, since Robin and Maxie were camping rough on the way to London, they definitely relied on campfires. When Nicholas and Clare went to a gypsy band after escaping a murder attempt in Thunder and Roses, definitely a campfire there. Lots of fires in my books, as would seem normal at the time.
    As a side note, I enjoy fires but I’ve always hated camping. Give me indoor plumbing any day!!!

    Reply
  27. Lil, you’re right, since Robin and Maxie were camping rough on the way to London, they definitely relied on campfires. When Nicholas and Clare went to a gypsy band after escaping a murder attempt in Thunder and Roses, definitely a campfire there. Lots of fires in my books, as would seem normal at the time.
    As a side note, I enjoy fires but I’ve always hated camping. Give me indoor plumbing any day!!!

    Reply
  28. Lil, you’re right, since Robin and Maxie were camping rough on the way to London, they definitely relied on campfires. When Nicholas and Clare went to a gypsy band after escaping a murder attempt in Thunder and Roses, definitely a campfire there. Lots of fires in my books, as would seem normal at the time.
    As a side note, I enjoy fires but I’ve always hated camping. Give me indoor plumbing any day!!!

    Reply
  29. Lil, you’re right, since Robin and Maxie were camping rough on the way to London, they definitely relied on campfires. When Nicholas and Clare went to a gypsy band after escaping a murder attempt in Thunder and Roses, definitely a campfire there. Lots of fires in my books, as would seem normal at the time.
    As a side note, I enjoy fires but I’ve always hated camping. Give me indoor plumbing any day!!!

    Reply
  30. Lil, you’re right, since Robin and Maxie were camping rough on the way to London, they definitely relied on campfires. When Nicholas and Clare went to a gypsy band after escaping a murder attempt in Thunder and Roses, definitely a campfire there. Lots of fires in my books, as would seem normal at the time.
    As a side note, I enjoy fires but I’ve always hated camping. Give me indoor plumbing any day!!!

    Reply
  31. Heaven indeed, Teresa! I suppose now you’re being restricted to anthracite coal since it burns more cleanly, but yes, more expensive. One thinks of London ‘pea souper’ fogs formed from too many coal fires combining with real fog.

    Reply
  32. Heaven indeed, Teresa! I suppose now you’re being restricted to anthracite coal since it burns more cleanly, but yes, more expensive. One thinks of London ‘pea souper’ fogs formed from too many coal fires combining with real fog.

    Reply
  33. Heaven indeed, Teresa! I suppose now you’re being restricted to anthracite coal since it burns more cleanly, but yes, more expensive. One thinks of London ‘pea souper’ fogs formed from too many coal fires combining with real fog.

    Reply
  34. Heaven indeed, Teresa! I suppose now you’re being restricted to anthracite coal since it burns more cleanly, but yes, more expensive. One thinks of London ‘pea souper’ fogs formed from too many coal fires combining with real fog.

    Reply
  35. Heaven indeed, Teresa! I suppose now you’re being restricted to anthracite coal since it burns more cleanly, but yes, more expensive. One thinks of London ‘pea souper’ fogs formed from too many coal fires combining with real fog.

    Reply
  36. We had a wonderful brass and iron gas fireplace insert in the apartment in which I grew up. The building was pre-Great Depression and Elizabethan inspired with high ceilings and diamond paned leaded glass windows. The fireplace was so cozy. The winter that the antique basement boiler broke and they had to find replacement parts in another state, it kept us from freezing. Very sad when the city decided they were a hazard and capped the gas outlet.

    Reply
  37. We had a wonderful brass and iron gas fireplace insert in the apartment in which I grew up. The building was pre-Great Depression and Elizabethan inspired with high ceilings and diamond paned leaded glass windows. The fireplace was so cozy. The winter that the antique basement boiler broke and they had to find replacement parts in another state, it kept us from freezing. Very sad when the city decided they were a hazard and capped the gas outlet.

    Reply
  38. We had a wonderful brass and iron gas fireplace insert in the apartment in which I grew up. The building was pre-Great Depression and Elizabethan inspired with high ceilings and diamond paned leaded glass windows. The fireplace was so cozy. The winter that the antique basement boiler broke and they had to find replacement parts in another state, it kept us from freezing. Very sad when the city decided they were a hazard and capped the gas outlet.

    Reply
  39. We had a wonderful brass and iron gas fireplace insert in the apartment in which I grew up. The building was pre-Great Depression and Elizabethan inspired with high ceilings and diamond paned leaded glass windows. The fireplace was so cozy. The winter that the antique basement boiler broke and they had to find replacement parts in another state, it kept us from freezing. Very sad when the city decided they were a hazard and capped the gas outlet.

    Reply
  40. We had a wonderful brass and iron gas fireplace insert in the apartment in which I grew up. The building was pre-Great Depression and Elizabethan inspired with high ceilings and diamond paned leaded glass windows. The fireplace was so cozy. The winter that the antique basement boiler broke and they had to find replacement parts in another state, it kept us from freezing. Very sad when the city decided they were a hazard and capped the gas outlet.

    Reply
  41. My husband built a wonderful fire pit in the back (far from the trees, of course). The family loves to sit out there together. The children bring friends and we tell stories and, now that they’re old enough, sip lovely drinks. We use it all year long, weather permitting. I have to spray myself in the summer since the mosquitoes LOVE me. And I don’t stay out too long in the Winter cold. Now that the children have moved away, I sit out with my husband or just by myself and remember all the happy times

    Reply
  42. My husband built a wonderful fire pit in the back (far from the trees, of course). The family loves to sit out there together. The children bring friends and we tell stories and, now that they’re old enough, sip lovely drinks. We use it all year long, weather permitting. I have to spray myself in the summer since the mosquitoes LOVE me. And I don’t stay out too long in the Winter cold. Now that the children have moved away, I sit out with my husband or just by myself and remember all the happy times

    Reply
  43. My husband built a wonderful fire pit in the back (far from the trees, of course). The family loves to sit out there together. The children bring friends and we tell stories and, now that they’re old enough, sip lovely drinks. We use it all year long, weather permitting. I have to spray myself in the summer since the mosquitoes LOVE me. And I don’t stay out too long in the Winter cold. Now that the children have moved away, I sit out with my husband or just by myself and remember all the happy times

    Reply
  44. My husband built a wonderful fire pit in the back (far from the trees, of course). The family loves to sit out there together. The children bring friends and we tell stories and, now that they’re old enough, sip lovely drinks. We use it all year long, weather permitting. I have to spray myself in the summer since the mosquitoes LOVE me. And I don’t stay out too long in the Winter cold. Now that the children have moved away, I sit out with my husband or just by myself and remember all the happy times

    Reply
  45. My husband built a wonderful fire pit in the back (far from the trees, of course). The family loves to sit out there together. The children bring friends and we tell stories and, now that they’re old enough, sip lovely drinks. We use it all year long, weather permitting. I have to spray myself in the summer since the mosquitoes LOVE me. And I don’t stay out too long in the Winter cold. Now that the children have moved away, I sit out with my husband or just by myself and remember all the happy times

    Reply

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