Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day one at Camp Awesome

So. It is break for semester 2, and I am out with the family camping.
It's been too long since we braved the elements. Well, last night we certainly did.
Lots of rain. Lots of wind. Lots of storm.
At one point Eve pokes me and says 'We just lost the gazebo.'

I had been slightly preoccupied at this point with not accidentally coughing my lungs up. But the morning after, predawn light woke me at something-to-six and I ventured outside.

Yes, we did lose the gazebo.

There it sat, crumpled as though the aluminium frame and canvas were nothing more than wet cardboard. I admired its state of pathos until Dad told me to get back in the tent so the gremlin residing in my lungs couldn't spasm so much.

The world resurfaced about forty minutes later, and I watched my brother start the morning's fire.

This is actually where the purpose of the blog post starts.

My brother and I have very different methods of starting fires. I mean, they both work (...kinda) but they have different layouts, different tricks and use different amounts of cardboard.

I watched him start it, and wander away when the wood had begun to catch. My sister, father and I then proceeded to move the base of the fire lower into the brazier so that it could last longer than twenty minutes.

I quite like fire.

And many of the concepts that come with it:

Colour, elemental value, shape, heat; the things it can be alluded to.

I frankly stink at communicating with people, but give me some dry wood and a few matches and I'll be a happy camper.

Anyway, me and fire are mates.

So, this morning, I watched the pile of crackling twigs and pondered the layouts that Jack and I use and what I could blog about them.

Since I'm kinda involved in headspace involving relatory concepts (and I very nearly told off my brother for building a short-term fire), I'll compare firebending with...relatory concepts.

Because when you look at it like this, a fire built like this,
will catch where all the branches intersect at the top. It burns for a while, and then collapses and moves outward. It is built tall, so this morning the rest of the team had to move the base of the fire into the bottom of the brazier so that it wouldn't be blown out by the wind.

At this point I need to add some kind of disclaimer.
I'm not saying that my brother sucks at making fires (because he can make one), and I can't really determine whether he is a long or short-term relationship guy (because he tends to be fairly non-broadcasty when it comes to girls). But I will say that he tends to use a lot of cardboard when starting a fire.

Maybe this is the bit where we stick with the metaphor?

So, your cardboard and accelerant and paper is all the little fluffy bits of relatory. It's the sweet nothings murmured, the little notes, the sweet bits and pieces that, while they might make things flashy, can't constitute the basis of a relationship. In the same way, fires don't work if you pile a whole lot of paper together and then set a lit match to it.

I know this because Bec wanted to creatively remove a whole heap of scrunched-up paper I was throwing out. We took it into the street and she set it on fire. It burned big. Burned hella bright too. But the first gust of wind that came past blew it out and around, and suddenly we were kicking bits of ash, making sure we didn't accidentally set fire to someone's front lawn.

That's the other thing too - paper and cardboard, in spite of their bright-burning properties, boil down into ash - white flakes of nothing.

The other fire type I wanted to bring up was this one.

It looks like a jenga stack. I tend to build something like this.
This is where we look specifically at the build types and my flawed metaphor.

This build uses more wood from the start. It uses less cardboard. And the bigger pieces of fuel are used to shelter the small fire from the wind. But it gets going, and stays going. It's easier to build up, and as it burns, collapses in towards itself, creating something that lasts longer.

This next bit is totally up to you, but I'm going to stick with five years of trying to figure people and six years before that of having my Girl Guide leaders teach me how to build a fire. Personally? I want something that will burn for a long long time.

I guess I actually want to close with an extended part of the fire = relationship metaphor.
People like standing upwind of a fire in the same way that they enjoy hanging out with a couple that is edifying to the group as individuals and as an entity.
People enjoy standing downwind of a fire in the same way that they enjoy watching a couple (consisting of friends) make out in public.
(I'm not sure what your tastes are, but I find it a little....overbearing.)
And, like, eeew.

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