The key to lighting a really good fire is all in the planning. I learned this one June afternoon when my sixth grade bff and I decided to celebrate the last day of school by emptying our denim notebooks, each completely covered in thick red bubble hearts and song lyrics, into a big metal trashcan in my backyard.
The goal was to create a raging, exciting bonfire of a year’s worth of school work. A big 12-year old middle finger to the establishment. Looking back, I can see several potential issues with this plan. At the time however, well…we were pretty focused on the goal.
What saved us from completing this plan, (and probably our asses) was our lack of forethought. We jammed that trash can so full of paper that there was no room for air flow. The flame wouldn’t stay lit. And, anyway, before we could figure out the problem, my mom came home. Needless to say, she was not as jazzed about our plan as we were.
A good fire, I was later taught, is a controlled fire. The trick is in the stacking. Forget about the tee-pee style you learned in the scouts, a tic-tac-toe formation of wood with strategically placed crumbled newspaper works every time. – That is, if you are looking to warm your toes, or toast marshmallows.
Different stokes for different folks, I guess. It all depends on how much you’re willing to risk getting burned.
with love, jrb