It started around the campfire. We were all there staring at the flames, poking the logs with our sticks. Someone brought the graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bars out. The “ultimate oven” was ready and we began toasting the sticky morsels of white. Our s’mores were consumed immediately leaving a pattern of white blotches across our faces. There were giggles and stories told about the day’s activities. That often led to stories about “when I was young….” You know what I mean. When the children went to bed the conversations got more serious. It seems easier to share your thoughts when it is quiet and everyone is focused on the fire. What is said around the campfire stays around the campfire. There is a special kind of bonding that happens on such nights. It’s more personal than what is shared on social media or in the rush of daily activities.
The magic of the campfire begins when sticks are gathered and brought to the perfect location, a flat area on the ground, perhaps protected by rocks or pavers. Someone must bring newspaper and matches. Larger logs are needed and they must be dry or the smoke will be overwhelming and the fire will never start. It takes a team to accomplish all of this. That’s half the fun! When we gather around as evening falls we fan the flames and make suggestions to improve the progress. At last we are the winners, the fire is started and we can sit back and enjoy the warmth. As long as there are glowing coals we stay and talk.
Camping, picnics, cabins and backyards offer opportunities for this kind of gathering where our stories can be told to our children and friends, face to face. It helps us know who we are and where we came from; our stories of faith, our fears, our dreams. We block out distractions around us and focus on each other. If campfires aren’t possible, try lanterns in a make shift tent, chairs around the fireplace or candles on the dinner table with the lights turned down. Fall is a good time to enjoy each others’ company telling your stories in this quiet kind of way! Your life will be richer because of it.