We have a fire pit in the back of our yard built kind of lopsidedly out of broken bricks and a piece or two of cement from a long forgotten building. We don’t have fancy chairs around it or solar lights or tiki torches, nothing that would find it’s way into a home and garden magazine, but it’s an important part of our lives nonetheless and we love it. It was the first thing we built on our new acreage. We all helped build it and we couldn’t wait to light our first campfire! We build the first campfire of the year on the first reasonably warm evening in the spring and the last one of the year on the last reasonably chilly fall night. There have been some evenings when I’m driving home from one place or another and I can see our campfire from the top of the hill about a quarter of a mile away from home. I always think in my mind “Yay! Campfire!” We roast hot dogs or have smores and have even made a full blown ‘survival meal’ out of goodness knows what all we can think up. We’ve had many, many hours sitting in front of a fire singing, laughing, telling silly stories, counting stars, listening to all kinds of critters making their night noises, watching bats dive above us to catch bugs and sharing “Good part, Bad part”.
Good part, bad part is a way for us all to share with each other the good and the bad of our days and talk about it together. We each go around the campfire circle from youngest to oldest and share what we loved or hated about our day. When the kids were very little, the bad part usually consisted of falling down and getting an owie or something rotten that a kid at school had said and the good part was the batch of cookies I had made that afternoon or a birthday party they had been invited to. We didn’t always have advice or wise words of comfort for the bad parts. Sometimes just a simple hug or telling them that we were sorry that a bad thing happened was all that was needed to make each of us feel better. We always felt like when we left campfire, the bad part was left behind there too, somehow.
Now that the kids have grown a little older, the bad parts still consist of some scraped knees or when so-and-so said such-and-such, but the good parts usually consist of ‘being here at the campfire’, which warms my heart in more ways than one. It’s the listening that counts. Even if you don’t have anything wise to say that will make everything better, staring into those flames together in the quiet and the dark creates a trusting atmosphere that seems to lend itself to sharing your feelings. Everybody needs that from time to time. We’ve invited guests to our campfires and it seems as if they have the same reaction. Maybe it’s being away from from the world and that little bit of “escape”, or maybe there’s some kind of trust factor that goes along with sitting in the dark next to the flames, I don’t know, but it’s real and it’s wonderful and it’s a part of our lives that I cherish.
It’s so nice to know that the kids enjoy our time talking together and that it means something for them to be around our humble little fire pit. I hope that it has created wonderful memories for them like it has for me.