My arrival prompted Vikki and family to clear out the cowshed of quite an accumulation of stuff. Much of it ended up as a big pile in the middle of a paddock, which Vikki described as a bonfire, and last night the kids lit it at dusk. I might not have known except I was taking some scraps to the chooks and saw the magnificent blaze. Vikki has gone away for a week and I am nominally in charge of her teenagers but Vikki's instructions to me mentioned nothing about fires.
I stood around with the teens for 15 minutes or so watching the flames and then they went inside to play video games, either bored with the fire or their style cramped by my presence. This surprised me as the fire was burning beautifully and it seemed a shame to waste it. (Not to mention safety issues, though after the recent, frequent rain it seemed unlikely anything untoward could burn). Anyway, I dragged over a chair and spent the next 2-3 hours enjoying having a big fire all to myself.
It's been a few years since I've sat around a bonfire, and I've always been in company before. Without conversation, storytelling and Stairway to Heaven I could hear the crackle of flames over the steady drone of cicadas, the distant crash of waves, mournful moreporks, occaisional pukeko screeches, cattle lowing here and horses snorting there. Orange sparks swirled into a sky creamy with stars. Time passed, the fire burned down, I patrolled its perimeters, poking the edges towards the centre, encouraging the flames for as long as I could. But eventually the embers could no longer keep me warm and I went to bed.
The kids had never so much as come out to check on the fire they had lit.