Our winter solstice fire was modest — but rather perfect. Allen broke down three pallets, but wanted to save some wood for another fire sometime. We were also a bit worried that a major fire might get noticed from afar and bring unwanted visitors to investigate.
There are no trees here, just small shrubs and krummolz vegetation, so gathering material for kindling took some time. And what we did find was soggy from weeks of rain and wet snow, but it dried out enough for Allen to get the fire going without resorting to lighter fluid.
We built the fire immediately in front of our cabin where there was enough shelter from the wind. The place was shrouded in thick fog with the temperature hovering around freezing. We waited until dusk to start the fire and by the time it was fully dark, Allen had got a nice blaze going. I fixed us hot cocoa spiked with rum.
Meanwhile, in Seattle, Alene was contending with bright sunshine. She retired to the relative shade of her east-facing bedroom and lazed on her bed listening to a podcast of a BBC radio drama about a couple who fell in love writing each other letters during World War II while he was stationed in northern Africa. It was based on a true story and had a happy ending. After the war ended, the man returned to England and they were married. And after his army discharge, they enjoyed fifty-eight years of happy marriage.
On the morning of the summer solstice in 2002, I went over to West Seattle and walked along the waterfront. A couple of hours later, Alene walked the same path — and laughed with delight when she came across the miniature Stonehenge I had built from beach stones.
It seems such a long time ago. Ah, well. Bumblebee.