SUN 1 JAN 2012 11:45 am MY HEARTH
Every fire has its own biography. This one was almost stillborn, but now, after repeated rearrangements and relightings, it is born: its throaty breath sounds over the growing hiss of steam escaping from moist wood. The flames are orange and shiver hurriedly upward like some storm-shaken bush growing behind and through a rail fence. The young fire grows brighter, feasting on wood that is still recognizable. As the fire matures, the little fireplace will become a hot furnace of embers, quickly exploding new lengths of fuel into holocausts of flame. Eventually, starved, the fire will die, continuing to throw off heat from its black rubble until it has expired and become again just a part of the room.