Thoughts on the May 24 holiday weekend. Excerpted from the newest book Bears in the Bird Feeders: Cottage Life on Shaman's Rock.
The cottage campfire is a magical thing, especially in a society driven half-mad by cell phones, texting, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other quick hits of less-than-thoughtful communication.
Slip out of the darkness and take a seat on the log where a dozen people are gathered, staring pensively into the flames dancing inside the circle of granite stones. The first thing you will notice is the silence. People are in no hurry to talk. When someone does speak, it is not in the short, sharp pings so common in today’s wired society. It is often slow, measured, and even thoughtful.
A campfire’s magic slows people’s heartbeats, thought processes, and their tongues. The flames are speed bumps along the path between grey matter and lips. It is hard to imagine hearing around the campfire the tactless snippets of comment that zip daily across omnipresent blogs. The campfire draws people into itself and absorbs the heat from over-spinning minds, redistributing it as reflection, focus, and warm good feelings.
As complicated as the world has become, the campfire has remained the same over the millenniums since fire was discovered. It is the same at St. Nora Lake as the campfires that flicker along the coast of the Great Australian Bight, the Congo jungle, or somewhere in the mountains of Afghanistan.
Bears in the Bird Feeders link: http://www.dundurn.com/books/bears_bird_feeders