A fire in the outdoors feeds on the wind.
Far from the updrafts that make fireplaces in our homes tamely rage, ocean breezes slap down a fire on the beach. They slap it down and rouse it all at once.
This past Sunday afternoon I got to watch someone who is used to starting fires on the beach. “Layers,” he had advised me when we were talking on Saturday about our venture, and so it was wearing a corduroy shirt, a sweatshirt and a canvas jacket that I watched.
From time to time I felt the pieces I was wearing tug and fill with air, but my cap stayed sturdy about my head. Moving our chairs from a growing heat, we leaned our faces a little closer and talked of family and early times in our lives. We tried out our tales, aware that a relentless energy in the air about us more than matched any energy that our stories unleashed within us.
A little lunch over, one stage of our visit over, we felt a colder air, a stronger wind. We packed, we looked up the beach and down as we collapsed the chairs, we smothered the wood and coals. We left the beach to energies it knew better than we how to handle.