Inhale fire, exhale smoke. Close your eyes. Inhale mountain air, exhale fear, stress, and worry. Fire seems to breath in and out of its own accord taking deep breaths from its embers and extinguishing swirling, suffocating smoke in its exhale.
Perhaps it is the quietness of the wilderness and the power of the flame that humans find so therapeutic in campfires. Perhaps, the danger is beautiful and the necessity, striking. Think about it, could you sleep under the stars and in the elements without a fire? Could you make a fire if you did not already posses matches? Some girl scouts and boy scouts may answer with a confident, resounding “yes!” But I doubt many of us could respond with the same confidence.
Maybe campfires are so mesmerizing because we are at the mercy of the burning heat. Without it we could not live, and at the same time, with it we could die. When we look into the breathing embers we know we cannot rule the world, we cannot control everyone's’ lives, and most importantly, we are not the ultimate force in the universe. This honesty lets us be at ease with ourselves and the world around us. It lets us see our bare selves and love and accept exactly what makes us, us. From there, our love is caught on the swirling smoke to embrace our friends and family who share the heat of the flame.The dancing flames, the breathing embers, the hiss and pop of the wood melts away every tension of the day. Can you imagine how different the world would be if we had more campfires? What if democratic and republican representatives conducted cabinet meetings and debates in Life is Good t-shirts huddled around a burning hot campfire somewhere on the mountain side? Take away the television and radio broadcasts. Take away the wealth and the status and the title.
Around a campfire all individuals are equal. Somehow it seems unlikely that America would be so divided on so many supposedly controversial topics. Since our gaze cannot resist the red celebration and our hearts cannot refuse the dance, ten minutes around the campfire among our biggest and the best would leave us as one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice in our hearts. We would not fight over who can marry whom but rather extol love as a beautiful and mysterious thing much like the burning flames before us. We would not fear our neighbors as we would have known them joyously with a s'more in one hand, a hot dog in the other, and a song in our throat.
Can you imagine how many lives would be saved and how many families reunited if we had more campfires? Can you imagine how much pain would be avoided and how much more laughter would be had? I think it’s safe to say that yeah, we need more love, and yeah, we need more trust, but most of all, we need more campfires.