Walking out today, the first frost of the season, I am reminded of the comfort of the fireplace back home and the crackling of sap still remaining in the logs. Yes, it’s that time of year where pumpkins are traded in for pinecones. I am reminded of the fireplaces of my youth.
Driving home and blinded by the reflection off of the snow, we headed on. The roads were merely marked by the memory of where the crushed stone used to lay underneath the blankets of snow. In other words, I had to hope for the best—otherwise face the doomed fate of being the bad neighbor.
With freshly cut logs in the back of the truck, the fireplace of home called my name. The image of the walk-in-sized fireplace whose roaring fire was being fed by the wooden planks I was now delivering made the extraneous trip of cutting them in the first place, worth all of the effort.
For you see, the living room fireplace is the heart of my winter season. In my house growing up, my parents constantly had the fire going in the background to warm the numbing toes of the children walking back from school and for the added comfort of staying warm while watching snowstorm after snowstorm pass.
And as an added treat after the dishes were done, and the firewood brought in, my mother used to pour wax into the pinecones my brother and I collected the weekend before and place them into the fire. With anticipation, we waited a somewhat safe distance away, watching the fire move ever so slowly to the pinecones. Then, with one curious flame reaching the cone, they began to rumble. Moments later, you’d hear a loud pop and the pinecones would take off like Cherry Bombs in the fire. And with the toss of each pinecone, another thrill of the awaited explosion was sure to come.
Today, whenever I light my own fireplace, I often wonder if the chopped wood will crack and hiss that familiar sound of the past.
Perhaps all I know is that it’s time to start collecting pinecones.