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.