the South: A Photo Essay (pt. 9)

The Magic of Fire

Picture this:  sitting outside under the night sky with a group of friends.  Besides the silvery luminescence of the universe overhead, there is no light to compete with the dancing fire in front of you.  Maybe you’re laughing your ass off, or maybe you’re all just staring into the fire, listening to the wail of Southern Blues coming from the stereo.  Either way, you probably have to fall into a quick and tense silence in order to hear the coyotes crying nearby.

Sitting around a campfire is one of my favorite things to do in the world.  It’s a perfect place to have a drink and trade tall tales, or as we like to say, “tell stories and listen to lies.”  Time holds no authority around a campfire, and if you’re lucky, you may even get to witness one of Papa’s magic fires that hold you spellbound with all of the colors of the rainbow.  And one of the best parts: you wake up the next morning and you still smell like campfire smoke.

Campfires are by no means a solely Southern thing; they light up the darkness and draw people together in the countryside all throughout this nation and the world.  There’s something about staring into the liquid flames, something about knowing that our most distant ancestors ended their days by staring into the same flames.  Fire to them was life; it provided both light and warmth; it gave them a place to congregate at night, to mingle and trade ideas, to grow.

Fire is a powerful force, both devastating and beautiful.  It gives life and it destroys.  It was here before humans walked the earth and it will be here long after we are gone.  Fire is nature’s magic.

(Part 9 of 11)

Creative Commons License
The South: A Photo Essay by W. J. Newsome is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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