Editor’s Notebook: Heaven burning in a fireplace | SierraSun.com
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Editor’s Notebook: Heaven burning in a fireplace

Nik Dirga, Sierra Sun editor

If there is a heaven, surely it has a fireplace.

I know, I know, it’s that other place that’s supposed to lay claim to all the fire-and-brimstone-related accessories, but let’s get real: could heaven be heaven without there being a solid stone fireplace somewhere, oak stacked on the hearth and a warm and crackling fire roaring away?

Of course, hell has better public relations, to be fair. They do tend to get all the advertising executives.

We’ve all had our first brief glimpse of the winter yet to come, and as snow dusted the mountaintops and tourists careened wildly out of control on the .045 inches of powder on the roads, there was also to be heard the quiet fwoosh of dozens of fireplaces throughout the North Shore being called into service for the first time in a few months.

Avril and I had our winter supply of firewood delivered recently or rather, we had it dumped onto the driveway in front of our door.

A “cord” of wood sounds manageable, when you say it. A cord, a rope, a line, an easily-moved object. But when that cord is about 257 logs of wood sitting in the rain on your front doorstep, and you have to carry it up the stairs, through the house and out onto the deck, that cord becomes the noose around your fragile neck.

Avril and I did manage to move the cord into storage eventually. Splinters, muddy footprints and wood chips decorated our lovely carpet, but we had wood. We had fire for the winter, glorious fire, and never mind the aches and pains and three-foot pile of sawdust on the deck.

I spent much time in front of the fire this weekend, watching the flames shimmer and lick at our wood.

It’s a sight I can watch for hours, because the show is never exactly the same twice -the pitch of the flames, the colors and the glowing embers beneath a flickering pageant for the eyes.

The fire once held the place that television grips so fiercely today in our lives -the hearth was where we once gathered, after meals, to muse and sing and read and think after a hard day’s living. TV took over that spot a while back, eventually even extending its cathode-ray glare into the meals itself.

And heck, I’m as guilty as anyone of choosing TV over fire.

The thing is, TV asks very little of our minds. We sit, it entertains, and there ain’t all that much give and take.

Fire only gives what we make of it, and if given a chance our minds can make of its flickering and flows a show better than the best thing television ever aired. I always do my best thinking in front of fires.

And like I said, I’d like to think that if there’s a heaven it’s full of roaring fireplaces.

But.

I also like to think I’m a nice guy.

Nevertheless, if heaven turns out to have 100-channel satellite television sets on every cloud, while hell has a fireplace in every room, I freely admit my allegiances may be suspect in the end.

Or to quote the primeval alpha-male within, “Fire good.”

Sierra Sun Editor Nik Dirga grew up in Nevada County.


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