Thursday, September 11, 2008

Songs by the Fire

Heh. Have you ever seen something that just made you laugh for no reason at all? That's what happened when I saw this picture. It called to mind all the funny songs we sang at camp and other gatherings. Most of those songs don't make any sense at all, but what the heck, we were having fun.

I grew up with campfires, singing and telling stories in the dark with the firelight flickering over the faces that surrounded me. Off in the black night, insects hummed and whirred. When I was very young and still lived in the southwest, sometimes coyotes howled counterpoint.

As an adult I went on women's church retreats where we gathered around a bondfire and sang songs. Earlier in the day, we attended a retreat session where we were asked to write down all those things that were hindering us from being the women we wanted to be. That evening, we tossed them in the fire... a symbol of our willingness to move forward.

It's interesting, I think that no matter how modern and civilized we become, we are still drawn to that simple campfire in the night or that fire in the hearth. No matter how warm we are, we still hold our hands out to the fire. I imagine some man or woman from long ago, also drawn to the warmth and security of the fire. I see the tribe gathered there while their elders share the stories of their heritage.

It is sad, I think, that in our rush to embrace technology, we've lost that simple transmission of knowledge that was passed on around the fire. Youngsters learned about important grownup moral codes by absorbing the lessons taught at the hearth. They learned that joy and contentment wasn't necessarily a product of wealth, but was the shared harmony of spirit in the home.

Perhaps that is the attraction of the campfire in the night. Harmony, happiness, and a good song.



  1. Great blog. I remember that stuff too and it's a big part of rural life. I've had campouts with just the girls and later...boy/girl parties where we burned marshmallows and sneaked off in the dark No wonder Native American rituals were practiced around them. Something magical about it.

  2. I remember sitting in the back of a double decker bus, as we drove around the US, singing Beach Boy songs at the top of our lungs

  3. sometimes the attraction of the campfire is just warmth :-)

  4. "Bondfire" That's excellent. That's exactly what they should be called because more often that not we are bonding around the giant flames.

    When I read blogs like this, the song Memories comes to mind....

  5. and the scent of burnt marshmallows...

    Excellent points.