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October 16, 2006

Playing with FIRE

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It took me a long time to come up with a phenomenon. I wanted to write about one that truly relates to me as well as fascinates me. This weekend while staying at a friend’s cabin in Squaw Lake it dawned on me, fire. The sun was setting and we were getting ready to light the fire. Why were we all gathering around anticipating this ritual? We didn’t need to cook our food, warm ourselves, or dispose of any materials! So what is it that about fire that attracts us? I will explore the phenomenon of fire and how it attracts us.

According to Wikipedia.com fire is made of four major components as identified by fire tetrahedron: oxygen, heat, fuel and chain reaction. Without any one of these components the fire will seize to burn. The amount and or type determine the characteristics of the fire. A fire is caused when a flammable or combustible material is subjected to the right mixture of heat and oxygen.

Fire can be classified as several things: colorful, hot, powerful, damaging, healing, controllable and uncontrollable. I know some of these may be contradicting but they’re true. Controlled fires are used to burn under brush in forests prone to drought fires. However, when one of the components becomes uncontrolled they all become uncontrolled.
What attracts us?
The ability to control this unpredictable and powerful tool makes us feel like masters of our domain. At the same time we admire the play and dance of shapes and colors. Its heat and glow gives us a sense of security. It is so welcomed into our lives we invite it into our homes and even carry it in our pockets. Whatever the situation, all these reasons and given attributes play a role in our fascination with fire.

October 6, 2006

The St. Croix River

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I’m not going to start with a mystical, magical picture of a place of mystery making you want to know where this Eden is. I’ll tell you, it’s the St. Croix River, but here within lies the problem. You may be able to get to the St. Croix but will you visit the same St. Croix that I do.
The St. Croix River is more than a geological position on the map. I grew up along the western Wisconsin and Eastern Minnesota riverbanks. It has become my stomping grounds. Every year I take an annual trip down the St. Croix. I have a hard time sleeping the night before I go on the canoe trip down the river. Just the thought of the river instantly transports me there. It sparks memories of past adventures and brings a smile to my face; the cool water flowing down river the occasional fish jumping out of the water. It doesn’t mater if I’m on the river or sitting on the patio of the restaurant along the shores, my worries wash down stream.
Our canoe trip is the apex of its genius loci. When we launch off the river banks we feel like a bunch of caged animals busting loose from the confines of the city. Nothing ties us down; we leave all watches and phones behind. Time transforms from hours to days and we become primitive indigenes of the river.