We had a bonfire. A big one.
We’ve had a bonfire for 13 years. It was built and never burned – none of us can quite remember why, but now it seemed like the right time. I felt like it had become a piece of public art, Dad viewed it more as a useful landmark for directing deliveries to our door. All five of use were home, together, for the first time in a while, and possibly for the last time in a wee while too. We had a family dinner and then “set lowe to ‘im”. I was the honoured torch bearer who got to push the lit petrol sodden stick into the petrol sodden paper, packed into the petrol sodden wood.
Our neighbours came up to join us, bringing cans and camaraderie. It felt like a lovely, appropriate homecoming to stand together and allow the fire to mesmerise. It burned brilliantly and, like my walk to the sea, I was reminded of how other-worldly some of the most elemental aspects of our life can seem. I forget how powerful sea, wind and fire are. How can I forget? Because if I thought about it too much it would be terrifying? It feels exhilarating to play with fire.