Life By A Fire


What a beautiful summer evening here in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. It is a cool 62 degrees, common in this area, and I am sitting by a fire in my back yard. Over the years I have probably done this several thousand times. It was a nightly ritual with me and my parents when I was a boy, and I did the same with my sons when they were growing up.

For those of us who live here in northern New York, this is somewhat of a national pastime. The day is over, the sun has set, the peepers are singing and for a few magnificent hours in the cool, quiet night we slow down, sit by a fire, cook something on a stick, listen and talk in the yellow flicker of that ancient light.

There is no way to describe what happens to body, soul and spirit when you lean back in your favorite chair and feel the warmth of a wood fire crackling in front of you on a cool, damp night. It somehow brings comfort, peace and a sense that life has just found a way to settle down, no matter what the day has been. Life is good, by an evening fire, and nothing can disturb it.

I have had some interesting visitors over the years, while enjoying my evening fire. Most nights in has has been my wife, but on occasion it was a neighbor or fellow camper who wandered in when we were on a public campsite. Those were special moments of divine impartation where souls met, we sat a spell and our life stories unfolded. Memories, not yet forgotten, were often shared that spanned a lifetime or two. At other times it was a racoon, a chipmunk, a possum, a rabbit, a great snowy owl, a skunk, a tree frog and even a small black bear came looking with timid curiosity at whatever I was slowly roasting over the fire. It has been a wonderful way to just slow down and connect with life in general. In all honesty I would not trade one of these moments for anything in this world.

Beyond all this,  every night I have the best seat in the house for the main attraction. The cast of characters are unlike anything you can find on Broadway, and the brilliance of each performance exceeds the acting of the biggest Hollywood star. I am referring, of course, to the constellations turning over head, the aurora borealis draping the sky, and meteor showers that streak against a backdrop of a thousand diamond-like stars. Absolutely breathtaking! A magnificent display of God’s amazing creation, and it’s all free for the looking! You just can’t get anything like it in the city.

Do you need a mini vacation from a run-ragged life? Are you wanting a place to find quiet and rest for your weary soul, but don’t know where to go? Do you need to be reawakened to the view of life your ancestors knew, framed in the flicker of soft yellow light? Then let me suggest that everything you are looking for is waiting for you in your own backyard. All you need to do is get a few fire blocks, make an outdoor fireplace and then, just after sun set, touch a match to some broken up tree limbs or wood scraps left around the house.  Enjoy a return to the basics of life that include soft, yellow flickering fire light, heat you can see and feel, a bit of wood smoke in the cool evening breeze  and a fire-roasted snack of any kind.

There is nothing like sitting by an evening fire to bring everything that’s really important into focus. Who knows, after you cook that first hotdog, or smoke-melt a piece of sharp cheddar cheese with your kids and grand kids, you just might start a family tradition that will still be going on long after you are dead. Wouldn’t this be a great legacy of peace, conversation and solitude to leave behind? My sons and grandchildren all enjoy it, and I am sure when I am gone, every fire they light will remind them of the wonderful times we spent as a family remembering  our past, enjoying our present and pondering our future. Life by a fire…. you just can’t improve on that!  Now, go make a few memories of your own around a fire tonight.

The Truth You Never Realized

Anyone standing on the equator is spinning around Earth’s center at a speed of 1000 miles per hour and they weigh less then if they were standing at the poles. At the poles, however, they would literally be standing still and simply turning in a circle once every 24 hours. Interestingly enough they would still be flying around the sun at 67,000 miles per hour and several millions of miles per hour when you factor in solar and galactic rotation.

Gravity is not distributed evenly on the earth. Places like Hudson Bay, Canada actually have less gravity than other regions of the globe. This is due to the fact that there is less land mass in that part of the planet. This thin place in the earth’s crust also causes the earth to wobble as it spins. Every major earthquake on earth adds to this wobble, which in turn slows the earth’s speed of rotation and change the length of our day. If a large enough quake happened it would throw the earth so far off center all life would die.

The earth’s magnetic north pole is migrating northward every year. In fact, geological evidence shows that the poles have switch locations in the past so that north was in the south and south was in the north. That magnetic switch had a catastrophic impact on every living thing on the planet, including man. Doctors realized the importance of this “magnetic flip” when the first astronauts had a mysterious disease dubbed, “space sickness”. The nausea, dizziness, fatigue and mental dullness vanished however, once doctors placed a simple line of properly aligned magnets in every space suit.

Sometimes the truth can be stranger than any science fiction story. What our mind, intellect and eyes perceive as reality is often far from what is actually so. Who could imagine that on a calm, still evening, when you were sitting by a lake that looks like glass, you and that lake are actually moving at millions of miles per hour? What does that do to you when you realize that what you have always assumed to be so is not even close to the truth? Life is full of such wake up calls, and how we respond to them either moves us toward the truth or plunges even further into the dark.

Take, for instance, what you think about pro-life or pro-choice. If you have not given it much thought, then you probably haven’t considered one important reality. That is, how the concept is presented makes all the difference. Did the teacher present it as an honest, factual reality, or was it spoon fed to students as a well-crafted story. In case you missed the point, this really makes a differance. I was conversing with a high school student the other day on this very thing, and I dropped a time bomb into her indoctrination that is sure to have some interesting “complications” when she and her friends return to school in the Fall.

I asked her “Are you pro-abortion or pro-life” to which she responded. I am pro-choice”. In other words she had already been well discipled in the idea that an unborn baby is not a baby at all and therefore has no rights, not even the right to live. She went on repeating her indoctrination script saying, “a woman has a right to do what she wants with her own body”. My response kind of upset the apple cart when I said, “I agree, she can do whatever she wants to her own body.” Then I asked “In your mind, does she have the right to do whatever she wants to another body? Say, she kicks a dog and breaks it’s ribs and one leg as it bounced onto the sidewalk, is that ok?” She was shocked and said “absolutely not! A woman like that is a monster and should be put in jail”.

“That makes perfect sense” I responded, and then I asked my next question, already knowing the answer. I said “In order for you to make an intelligent decision do you believe you need all the facts?” She responded, “Of course, without all the facts you can’t possibly know the right thing to do”. Then I said, “Well I left out one small detail on the above story, the dog and woman were both in a burning building. By kicking the dog out the door onto the sidewalk she saved it from being burned to death. So, is she still a monster who needs to be in jail?”

As you might have already guessed the young lady said the woman was a hero for saving the dog’s life. “Now think about what for just a moment”, I told her. “Just getting all the facts totally changed your mind. Learning one simple truth turned the woman in the story from a criminal to a hero in your mind. Isn’t that amazing!” To which she said “Oh my.. that really is amazing! Wow, I have never though of things this way before”. And now I dropped my time bomb.

“You believe in abortion, so I assume you have all the facts about it right?” “Oh yes, I know all about the procedure and who to contact and what to expect afterwards. There is counseling if you want it and Planned Parenthood has a whole support system if you need it”. Then I said “What I mean is, have you ever seen an abortion and watched it actually being done on a pregnant woman? Have you seen what is actually being aborted?” Her eyes got wide and then with a look of questioning astonishment said, ”well, no.. I guess not”. “So”, I said, “you have made a life altering decision and yet no one has ever given you all the facts. How is that an intelligent decision on abortion?”

I could see the wheels turning in her head as the truth hit her and her reality went on “tilt”. She realized she had only been told half the story and now she needed to fill in the blanks. My suggestion at that point lit a fuse in her that I am sure will have some interesting repercussions in September. I challenged her and all her high school friends to demand that the school show every health class a full abortion. Most of all let them see the truth about what is being aborted. It is their right as students and there is no reason why this part of their education should be left out. Let every student in every high school in America demand to see all the facts so they can make up their own minds.

The truth you never realized is a powerful thing. Once it is let out of the box it’s impossible for it to be re-contained. The truth is something you don’t have to argue about or fight over. That’s because the truth is freedom, and it is the only thing that can really allow us to make fully informed, intelligent, right decisions. Let me encourage you today to demand the truth before you come to a partially informed conclusion. Who knows, that dog kicker you so despise right now, might actually be the unsung hero you never knew existed! Now, go fill in the blanks and enjoy the truth you uncover!