Saturday, July 12, 2014

Campfire memories

I loved sitting in front of the fire as a kid.

We didn't have a fireplace in my home but I used to love visiting my grandparents' homes because they did.  I was obsessed with the screens and the tools and the hearth in general.  I don't remember my grandparents well because they either passed away when I was small or were stricken with Alzheimer's and I didn't have much time with them while they were lucid and able to remember my presence.

 We didn't go camping as a family either.  The memories of campfires and the songs and community they offered came later.  A week of camp in fifth grade and a few trips to Lake Erie and Camp Glinodo as a girl scout had memorable ghost stories and whispered secrets, but fires really came into their own in Cherokee.

I spent four summers in Cherokee, North Carolina living and working "on the hill" with the cast and crew of Unto These Hills.  Every night was a party filled with crazy, wonderful artistic souls who were coming together to tell the story of the Cherokee Indians in the Smoky Mountains and their eventual journey to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears.

The drama was fun, the people who surrounded me were amazing.  The nightly bonfire right outside the door to my room in the girl's dorm was the center of each evening.  I'd sing, I'd act and then I would walk home to a huge fire and voices filling the summer night with song.  Someone always had a guitar and someone always had a story to tell.  I long for those days.

I still don't live in a house with a fireplace.  If we had one I'm sure it would be lit all year because I am always freezing, but we do have a fire pit.  I'm sitting here writing while staring at the dancing flames and smelling that delicious scent of smoke and char.  It is such a simple pleasure - the heat on my face and shins reminding me of summers long past where I was young and desired and always lending my voice to soar in harmony with my friends while the night spread across the sky.  While the stars watched, the leaves whispered "never forget this moment".

I never will foget my good fortune and those fantasic summer nights.  I never will.  I hope that there are some in my future, and that the people dear to me will share an evening of song again.  Bring your guitars friends, you're all invited.

If you happen to be looking into a fire tonight, or any night this summer, think of me.  I'll share it with you in spirit and iin my dreams.

  Much love to all of you.  I hope your night is filled with embers, harmony and friendship.

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