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By Kimberly Motley Sherrod

- Kimberly Motley Sherrod is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) with a Master of Art Education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Bachelor of Science from Alabama A & M University. Her motto: Motivating seniors and others to live life energetically at every stage.

When building a fire in a wood burning fireplace, a sense of comfort starts before the colorful flames begin to sway and acrobatically jump spreading a sense of excitement. As I write, I think back to times my mother drove us to wooded areas looking for firewood. Later, we split logs and chopped kindling. If it were cold enough, we would build a fire. I did not, at the time, appreciate the effect of a good fire. Today however, I see building a fire as a way to let positive emotions surface, cuddle with warmth from the flames, and raise self-awareness. 

During the winter, I counter the after-work-drag by building a fire. Some may say start a fire. But I do not, because building a fire entails selecting pieces of kindling, splitting logs and arranging them, usually in an upside-down position. After many failed attempts to get a fire burning, I learned this technique works well. In the process, the workday blahs surrender to positive energy. 

Now it is time to reap the arousing benefits of the fire. As I enjoy a glass of Courvoisier Cognac, I am entertained by the colorful flames playing hide-and-seek between the logs. Slowly, I am lulled by red crackling cinders playing a random symphony. Then the tempo of the popping cinders begins to change, slowly scattering above the flames like starry constellations. The warmth from the flame embraces me. I reach for my wool throw and surrender to the seductive will of the heat and flames. At last—I rest.

During this time of calm, I find myself in a meditative state. My thoughts are neither defined nor scattered. The fire cajoles me to be aware of a Higher presence. I surrender to the pull of the fire and kaleidoscopic dancing flames, calling me like mythical sirens. After carefully listening to the message it has for me, it is hard to walk away from a good fire. To truly experience life, I must be like the untethered flames, dynamic!

At last, the flames begin to lazily flicker, as in unison with my sleepy eyes, the cinders darken, and my body yearns to rest. The harmonic symbiotic dance of the fire calmed my mind, rested my body, and lifted my soul. It is hard to say goodnight to a good fire!