Our home fires are both necessary and symbolic. Religious mythology include kitchen hearths and their keepers because the hearth is the place where life and family begins and ends. Heat and life begin within the womb and warmth of the family. And I have always known that my job is to tend that warm place.
I love making fires. I saw an Indian gentleman show the true way to make fire out of forest fodder and I swore I would do that too. What a skill to have. And then I had Fiona instead. She is our “fuego rojo”, a fiery red-headed daughter.
Although our actual fireplaces were long ago rendered obsolete, we bought a gas insert for our living room hearth 15 year ago. I tend that fireplace with a once a year blow out of the dust from the pilot light and relight it to begin our fall season.
My truest joy is how my kids enjoy huddling next to it on the cold days. They ask to light it before school. And pull pillows up to warm themselves. That is the memory I want for them of their home life here. That coziness and kept feeling of home. If they take that with them then I have done my job as the hearth keeper.
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