One of the amazing, fabulous, so-cool-I-can’t-believe-it aspects of our new apartment is a real, actual, honest to goodness wood burning fireplace.
No pellets. No gas. No “oh it’s just for show we don’t use it.”
A real fireplace! With fire! From a log!
Yowza! [ insert cavewoman grunt here ]
Fire, good. Warm. Unh-huh.
However, since there are several units in my building, and who knows what sort of yahoolios I have for neighbors, today I called my insurance agent and double checked that I’m super duper double covered for such things as fire. And you know…burning.
Turns out that I am covered, and that’s good. I was raised with a healthy respect for fire. When my mom was just a little girl, her brother was using a burn barrel (or maybe burning leaves, I can’t remember) and he accidentally set several large farm fields on fire. My mom can vividly recall the huge flames and ever since she’s kept a healthy distance from any sort of fire.
So of course, my dad used to load up our 1970′s burnt orange free standing fireplace with lots of sappy New Mexico piñon logs. Then he’s say “what?” when mom mentioned that maybe that was a little too much fire for such a small fireplace.
I mean, as a kid I learned how to make a darn good campfire and over the years I’ve always really enjoyed cooking over fire (both bbq and camping), however, in my adult life, I have never lived anywhere that had a fireplace. Most apartments don’t offer this feature because the property owners don’t want to assume the risk.
Last night, I pondered while looking at this particular fire:
The first fire in our new place!!
For as much progress as we have seen in the world including technology, medicine, engineering, etc…meaning, of all the amazing tools that we, as humans, have at our fingertips, it’s still the tool of the caveman that can wipe the whole thing out.
One flickering flame. One spark from a burning fire is a lifechanger.
And so today, when my insurance agent asked me the all important question “what is the distance to the nearest Fire Station” and I answered “less than a mile,” at I first felt worry over having to even discuss the probability of tragedy. Then I felt thankful that the fire station is so close. Then I felt doubly thankful for all the people who work at that fire station and are willing, as a normal part of their job, to come and save me, and The Good Man and, yes, even The Feline, from a possible terrible situation.
Being a human is full of risks. Even if I choose not to use my fireplace, I can’t control all the others in my building. So yeah, I’m going to use that fireplace and I’m going to stand in front of it and warm my rear end. I’m also going to be very careful and very respectful.
And very grateful.
Regarding the fire, the Feline says, “where you been all my life?”.
Yes, that’s a box of Duraflame. Real logs are on the way.
Except where noted, photos Copyright 2012, by Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the far right column of this page. Photos taken with an iPhone4s and the Camera+ app.
Photo at the link to the freestanding orange fireplace is from UglyHousePhotos.com. That is not a photo of my family’s home.