Campfire Magic

Some of you will know already that last weekend I took a little day trip to a regional park, known as the You Yangs.

In case you’re wondering, it is a name derived from a local Aboriginal word that means ‘big mountain in the middle of a plain’.

I’d promised to take some friends and have a meal over a fire back in May.  But then the weather turned bad, life happened, and before I knew it September had arrived.

To be honest, the work involved in preparing campfire food and packing up the car seemed less than appealing at first.  But we all chipped in, and on Saturday morning four of us hit the road.

The minute the fire was lit, the weight of the week lifted off…

The feeling stayed with me, and infused my on-line interactions.

Someone who I think of as my cyber Mum saw animal shapes in the fire and made me laugh.

One of my fire buddies reminisced about the yum and I was hungry all over again.

And then I was reminded of an email dialogue that started with a new on-line friend who goes by the name Campfireshadows.

It made me wonder – what is it about campfire that captures our imagination?

In the documentary, Becoming Human (Part 2), I was fascinated by the suggestion that fire was responsible for the social evolution of humans.  At least, it makes sense to me that waiting for food to cook by the fire might lead to social interaction, the development of intimate bonds and (quite possibly) of language itself.

So perhaps there’s science to the magic of food, fires and storytelling?

In a globally fragmented world, these moments of community are rare.  It makes me wish I could invite you all around my fire, for a yarn and some good ol’ Aussie tucker.  And some wine.

Instead, I open up Twitter, and find these two messages side-by-side:

And that’s when I remember the power of blogs, and Facebook and Twitter.

Sure, it doesn’t always have the same romantic glow.  I might have even been a skeptic once.

But that was before I made the effort to pack my baggage up and really Go There.

Now when I log in, more often than not, I find myself smiling and laughing and even shedding a tear as I’m invited into the intimacy of other’s private worlds.

We may not be able to gather around a real-life fire.  But we’re lighting up each other’s worlds all the same.

I don’t know about you, but I find that magical.


  1. says

    Lovely thoughts Alarna Rose – yes, magical – the weave of lives and conversations is just lovely isn’t it, and I loved how you put it.
    Also loved the idea of your picnic… good friends, good food, good wine, and magic places…

      • says

        Yes, that’s what I love about writing, you start off with an idea, and then find you’ve gone to a place you hadn’t expected and are writing things you didn’t know you knew or thought!

        Most of my blogs evolve like that.
        And yes, be good to find a camp fire to sit around together one of these days

  2. says

    When I think campfire, I immediately think singing, telling stories, roasting s’mores and feeling at the moment that life just doesn’t get any better.It’s all about friendships and making connections. I would love to join you for some good ole Aussie tucker and some wine…but like you said, we will all have to catch the sparks from each others fires and enjoy the magic. Lovely post, Alarna Rose. (I love your name)

      • says

        S’mores are melted marshmallows and chocolate sandwiched in between two graham crackers. Prepared over an open flame, a camping favorite.
        Speaking of names, ahem…take a look at how I spell Lynne
        (Lynn with an e) 🙂 In the meantime, just keep the sparks going…

      • says

        Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry. I’m usually very careful about name spellings! I think I was getting confused with the other ‘Lynn’. Will correct this from now…. :/ Thanks for explaining the s’mores – I haven’t heard of this before (only marshmallows roasted on a stick). Sounds yum! Thanks Lynne – (with an e) 🙂

  3. says

    I completely agree with you… This world of blogging is a completely different world, where you can always find solace in some comment or some post, when you are really down. Plus, you get to meet so many people you have a lot in common with, and otherwise… Glad I found you around in of the virtual campfires!! 😉

  4. says

    Wonderful post which made me hungry for my next campfire. My hubby and I love going off road and discovering- just this year had great campfires in the Warrambungles and great food. Thanks for the reminders. BTW I loooove Tasmania and just recently went around Tassie with hubby and my mum and dad. We all had the best time.

    • says

      I just had to look up where the Warrumbungles were, and got side tracked on your blog 🙂 My family has relatives in Dubbo. We used to drive through Coonabarabran, I think, to get there, so I’m sort of familiar with the terrain. And thrilled to hear you love my homeland! I see you went to Port Arthur…what an eerie place it is. Thanks so much for your comment…I haven’t met too many Aussies yet! Hope you enjoy some more campfires soon 🙂

      • says

        Looking forward to many more campfires…and Coonabarabran is where we were for the Warrumbungles…it’s a wonderful town. Dubbo with it’s zoo is another favourite. See you soon.:)

  5. says

    Here’s the secret to my pen name campfireshadows. At Indian camp as a young man, Our Oglalala Sioux councilor was teaching us kids different Plains Indian legends and their wilderness camping lore. We were told never to stare at the campfire but to look beyond into its shadows. Many animals will come to see what is going on in their woods. If you stare at the campfire you will be blind to their presence and miss seeing them but your eyes will greet them if you look instead into the shadows. Life is like that. Do not stare into the bright shiney things in life but look beyond them and into the shadows. There you will discover things you have missed all your life 🙂
    Misituha (Big Oak) / Campfireshadows

  6. Coleen Patrick says

    I was once a skeptic too, but the community I’ve found has been the best surprise. So happy to know people like you Alarna!! 🙂 Hope we can continue to chat and support around the virtual campfire!

    • says

      And likewise, Coleen! Also, there’s a little secret I haven’t shared with you before….That is, what drew me to your site in the first place. It was a comment you had left on someone else’s blog, to say that when you started out on Facebook, you had only 5 ‘friends’. I can’t remember what else you said, but I was so relieved to hear someone admit their non-social media savvy-ness. I thought, this person will understand…and it was a pleasant surprise reading your inspiring posts. Happy to share virtual campfires with you 🙂

  7. says

    I love all the connections you made, there. And that you went from our earliest history with the element of fire creating us as social beings right up to date with technology and the internet producing the magic of those social connections – between people on all continents, too. Also, it was pleasing to see campfireshadows reply: look beyond the shiny things and into the shadows. I, too, often find that that’s where the magic lies. Great post again 🙂

    • says

      Yes, his comment is profound and magical! There’s that whole thing of ‘what’s in a name…’.

      When I was writing this post, I had a dim memory of seeing or reading something about humans and fires…It took me ages to work out (after reading so many blogs) where it came from. But it clicked for me. I guess I’m obsessed with fires…there’s something primal about them. And they were a regular feature of my early years.

      So glad to have connected with you across continents 🙂

  8. Deliberately Delicious says

    What a beautifully written post. I love the idea of gathering around our virtual campfire and sharing stories. There is true magic in that sharing, and in the moment when we feel that emotional connection to a story written by somebody halfway around the globe. Thank you for this thoughtful post.

    • says

      Absolutely! If there is anything that has ever made me want to travel, it’s the blogging experience…taking a peak into the special places and moments of others, like yourself, around the world has given me such itchy feet 🙂

  9. says

    So true. I often turn to blogging when I’m feeling down or out of sorts or when I need to get out of my own head, lol. Not necessarily to post anything, but I love reading posts by my blogging buddies. I love the feel of being a part of a supportive community, and you’re right, it is magical.

    I think I can smell that campfire. 🙂

    • says

      I’m so glad you can smell the firesmoke! It’s been with me all week 🙂 And yes, ever since blogging, I’ve been smiling a lot more, that’s for sure! Great therapy – getting out of our own heads and into someone else’s for a bit 🙂

  10. lynnkelleyauthor says

    Talk about magic, you seem to have master the art of weaving a little into all your posts! If I didn’t know you recently started your blog, I’d swear you’ve been blogging for years!
    I still see that animal shape in that fire, only the image is bigger on your post here and those eyes are starin’ at me! Your day camp trip sounds wonderful!
    I have a blogger friend with the log line, “Come sit by my fire.” Isn’t that a good one?
    I forgot to mention that I find it fascinating about fire and waiting for the meals to cook as the beginning of humans socializing. And look at us now, smokin’ through cyberspace! Well, some are. 🙂 Take care, cyber Daughter!

    • says

      It’s funny, I can definitely see some kind of skull now when I look at the fire! Not sure if you read Campfireshadows’ comment at all, where he explains his name, and about looking into the shadows? But it seems to me you have ‘the sight’ 😉 Love that log line of your blogger friend (I will have to go and check that out, now!). Thanks for brightening up my days, and always looking out for me, Lynn. 🙂

  11. Karen McFarland says

    Don’t you just love that Coleen Patrick? She does have a way with words that cheer you on. Like Lynn Kelley, I would never guess you’ve just started blogging Alarna. Your post draws the reader in like the warmth of a fire. And that would also explain why we are drawn physically to fire and fire-side chats. It invites cozy conversation and wine doesn’t hurt either. Isn’t it the company we keep that stirs our soul no matter where we are. Yet, there is something about relaxing next to the fire while camping amongst friends. Those are some of the best times. And now we have the warmth and acceptance of new friends that we’ve made online. It’s awesome! 🙂

    • says

      Karen, so lovely to see you here. I’m very glad you feel drawn in to the warmth of the fire…I like to make things cozy 😉 ‘Isn’t it the company we keep that stirs our soul no matter where we are.’ I think this is very true – and it goes almost hand in hand with being in nature. Those two combinations are priceless, and I think it’s great now we have to tools to make this experience a ‘virtual’ one. Thanks for your words (and I am also remiss for not thanking you earlier for your kind compliments on my name). Have a great day 🙂

  12. says

    Beautiful! And I completely agree 🙂 While I’d much rather be face to face with people, social media and blogs are great for connection and adding inspiration to our lives. Love your campfire analogy!

    • says

      Thanks so much, Ingrid – and especially for sharing this with the Twittersphere 🙂 To me, the most beautiful thing about the ‘virtual’ scene is that it gives us the freedom to imagine and share the best of ourselves with the world…in a way that is not always possible in person. But both have their role 🙂

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