As I was warming my feet by the fire again last night my thoughts drifted back to my childhood.
We didn't have a fireplace in our home while I was growing up, but it's something that mom always wanted. We would come home on a cold winter evening and dad would turn up the thermostat to warm the house. We had a coal burning furnace with small floor vents in each room. I remember I used to lay on the floor with my feet right against the vent trying to get myself warmed up (see, I've always hated the cold). My older brothers would try to jostle me out of the way. But eventually we would work it out and my toes would warm up.
Helping dad shove the pickup bed full of coal into the coal bin at the back of the house became a ritual that spoke on the coming of winter. I eventually didn't mind helping with the shoveling as I knew it would bring warmth later. But I and my mother always held a fireplace dream near to our hearts.
Only one or two of the houses I've lived in had a fireplace but I really don't ever remember lighting it and then sitting by the fire sipping wine or hot cocoa. It was one of the things that sold me on the condo and home where I live now. I don't mind the winter winds blowing outside so much anymore. I love to watch the flames dance and I love watching the fire die down into glowing hot embers. I'll throw another log on and watch the flames lick up the side of it and then consume it. I'm often holding a drink while gazing into the fire while I feel the warmth of the fire on my fingers and face. I still sit really close to warm my toes.