My sister lives in Maryland, where they have wintry weather most years. I live in South Florida, where the lowest temperature I've ever seen was 38 degrees, and that was once since 1998. We usually get a week or two of chilly weather, with one or two nights when the low dips to 45 degrees.
I have a fireplace in my house, and my sister does not. My house is on the first plat map of Broward county. I think of that person(s) who built these first houses here. Did they not understand the climate? Were they so dependent on fireplaces back home that they couldn't imagine not needing one? Was the climate different then?
The system that brought the blizzard to the east coast has also brought us some cold weather. So last evening, my spouse suggested a fire. But all our wood was wet from the record amounts of rain that we got on Friday.
Off I went to the grocery store, while my spouse stayed home to complete his mandatory training sessions at one of the schools where he teaches Philosophy. I picked up some good deals on food and coffee, and 4 bundles of wood at $5.49 each.
I tried not to think about the rural areas of South Carolina where I've lived, where I could have picked up a bundle of wood for free, where I could have bought a cord or a truck load of wood for not much more than I spent last night.
We had a fire in our fireplace that has no damper. It seems to work just fine, despite not having a damper. Is that a design feature or a flaw?
I thought of past years, long ago, when a grad school friend would occasionally find an apartment that was part of an older house, an apartment with a fireplace. I remember envying them, writing their grad school papers by the fire--meanwhile, I shivered in my meager grad school digs.
I thought of the changes of our approach to the fireplace at our annual family gatherings at Lutheridge. We used to have the fireplace going across the week-end. But now, with 7 little children, we haven't had a fire in almost a decade. Those sharp-edged stone hearths frighten the parents, and the children get into enough trouble without a fire going. We've also noticed that we all breathe better without a fire burning.
Last night, we did no work beside the fire. We sat with our backs to the TV, enjoying music and wine and the chance to unwind.
Today as I move through my day, I'll try to take the spirit of last night with me.