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Sunday, March 16, 2014

"Spark" 2

There are a lot of campfires in my memories.  Family camping, Girl Scouts, college... and with the memories of all those fires come memories of all the people singing happy songs with pleasant melodies and guitars strumming...

It seems like life was more musical back then.  Songs were written that were meant to be sung, not only by the musician, but also by the audience, war protesters, lovers, and churches.  Songs expressed our emotions and had something to say about what we were feeling.  There was something about sharing the flickering light of a campfire that made us a group and less shy about singing with our friends.

I wonder if the best campfires of my life are in the past?  We get to where we start thinking that sitting on the ground seems impractical or painful and bring lawn chairs, or let's just put the fire in the fireplace.  Or for that matter, collecting friends for a bonfire seems harder when they're shuttling kinds to soccer or working late or whatever.

I've gone "wimpy girl camping" with friends in later years.  That means we get a cabin with plumbing and a kitchen.  Even those commodities are insufficient for some of them and we stopped doing even this, but I'm due for another trip like that.  The last time we went, we had a long covered porch.  One night we rocked in rocking chairs and watched a heavy rain fall through the forest.  There's a peacefulness in that I don't know how to find at my house or in my regular life.

What we do with our lives is up to us.  If you decide you're too old to have fun, then you are.  If you want to have new experiences, then do it.  For people who are young and aren't collecting memories, get outside!  Have a bonfire and sing with your friends.  Just put the fire out when you're done.  If you don't have friends that will join you at a campfire, get some more friends.

The whole point of living is to have a life.  When I was in my 20s, I planned a trip with a friend who bailed at the last moment.  I told my grandma I was thinking I should save my minimal money and be responsible.  She shocked me by saying that I should go on the trip and spend everything I had.  "That way you'll have memories to look back on when you're old like me."  Ranks in best advice I've ever received, and strange that it came from my very responsible grandmother.

This week my brother and I went hiking.  2.3 miles of steeply up and down in the relatively balmy 35 degrees of Ohio March.  That was 2 days ago, and I'm still feeling it, which in my mind is pitiful, especially when I can read about some of you doing mini-marathons and biking and whatever else you're always up to.

This happens every year, and every year it seems a little harder to slough off winter hibernation.  I've even had the radical idea that maybe I should do some exercise all year instead of waiting for summer.  Maybe going on my brother's forced march is the spark that will lead me to better habits, which lead to new, more, better campfires?

In case you're wondering, illustrationfriday.com didn't give a new word for the week, which is why I revisited "spark".


  1. I'm glad you revisited Spark Linda as it certainly made me rekindle my campfire memories when I was away with the Girl Guides in the early 70s. We did have great fun and singing around the fire at night, it always made me feel warm and cosy. As an adult I have never wanted to camp...I really like the luxuries of a good hotel or apartment far too much;0) Great memories, thanks for stirring them for me x

  2. Anything I can do to spark happy memories for others makes for a happy day all the way around :)

  3. Agree with your progression from sleeping on the ground to sitting on a porch, Linda. You've managed to spark a few memories of those early campfires! Thanks :)

  4. Sometime this summer -- if it ever gets here -- and the burn pile is dry enough -- if that ever happens -- we can have a bonfire and maybe even roast marshmallows.

  5. Linda, that is a very nice illustration with the complementary colours and many beautiful swirls. I'm thinking about daily exercises too, but only thinking. Life is top- sport enough, me thinks. :-)

  6. Woo hoo! A bonfire in my future! (with comfortable chairs) This piece was the result of doodles, but sometimes those kinds of things make me happiest. The idea of exercising on the other hand -- not so much. Glad you had some happy campfires in your background too Rand!

  7. I have had some of my greatest moments around a campfires. There is just something very magical about sitting around the fire, with or without good friends and get completely absorbed by those hypnotic flames. I say with or without because I have often ended up hiking somewhere alone because friends have bailed out - and it's even more magic to be in the black night with your private little campfire. I love your illustration, it gets to my campfire soul.

  8. I can imagine you enjoying the night and a good fire by yourself Otto, and that's a good mental picture -- which probably comes with a lot of excellent actual photos too?

  9. I don't know about thinking your best campfires are behind you. I mean, maybe that's true, but there are plenty of other great things in the future, too. I do also have quite a lot of great campfire memories. :)

    Congratulations on your hike! And since I've already been a bit of a scold (sorry!), don't compare your accomplishments to other people's athletic feats. (Or feets!)

    But that whole living your life thing, I can totally get behind that. And I am trying to do it. It does seem like the perspective of a few decades under your belt make such things much clearer. :)

  10. A few years ago a generous friend asked what I wanted for my birthday. I said I wanted a hootenanny--lots of singing and whatever portable instruments people could bring. Best birthday present ever.

    I remember singing around bonfires too, when I was a kid. I love your swirling flames, the orange and blue.

  11. Now everyone's going to want a hootenanny! Sounds like a blast. Here's to hoping that we all have a lot of campfires in our futures!

  12. I am so dealing with "why is it still winter?" when my calendar tells me it's spring! I'll get over it...maybe! I need a hootenanny Spring with lots of camp fires. :)

  13. I'm completely with you Indigene about "why is it still winter"?!!! Campfires will come again :)