“C’mon baby, light my fire!” MASSE

Seaway News - - Opinion -

Do you want to share a good mes­sage, or did you see an act of kind­ness on the streets of Corn­wall? Do you have a funny photo or story? Then send it in and it could get fea­tured in our Scuttlebutt sec­tion. Email [email protected] tc.tc

Corn­wall Liv­ing launched last week. It has been 25 years since Corn­wall’s premier mag­a­zine be­gan print­ing. Ev­ery year Corn­wall Liv­ing Mag­a­zine fea­tures the best that Corn­wall has to of­fer and show­cases it to the world.

When we go camp­ing, our canoe is heav­ily loaded with es­sen­tials: food (frozen items for the first two days), a tent, lots of drink­ing wa­ter (plus a wa­ter pu­ri­fier in case we want to ex­tend our stay), some read­ing ma­te­rial (if rain con­fines us to our tent), some wellsea­soned hard­wood fire­wood, writ­ing ma­te­rial (im­mer­sion in na­ture stim­u­lates cre­ativ­ity) and a gen­er­ous sup­ply of birch bark. (No, I do not write on birch bark.)

In our style of ca­noe­ing and camp­ing, a weight- limit is never a con­sid­er­a­tion be­cause the only portag­ing we do is from my pickup truck to the wa­ter’s edge. I have no de­sire to be­come a Sherpa, don­key or any other beast of bur­den. At my age, any portage longer than the 60’ 6” dis­tance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate is out of the ques­tion.

Camp­ing with­out a camp­fire would be like a sun­dae with­out ice cream, a movie with­out pop­corn or a wed­ding with­out a ring. A camp­fire’s glow is the wilder­ness equal of TV as post-sun­set en­ter­tain­ment. We carry enough hard­wood with us to pro­vide a cou­ple of hours of cheery warmth af­ter the sun slips be­low the hori­zon.

Get­ting a thick piece of in­ad­e­quately sea­soned fire­wood to ig­nite is like push­ing a cart up­hill with a wet rope. How­ever, plac­ing strips of birch bark, then some twigs and branches, un­der sev­eral pieces of care­fully split well-aged fire­wood gives you a Roll­sRoyce camp­fire.

The place to re­lax af­ter a day of pad­dling is around a camp­fire. Care­fully fed, it will pro­vide warmth and a pleas­ant glow un­til al­most ev­ery star has been counted and the last story has been told. The pres­ence of a spell­bound au­di­ence, the back­ground eerie calls of the loons, the yip­ping of the coy­otes and the hoot­ing of the owls en­cour­age stir­ring tales of long- ago trav­els and ad­ven­tures.

As John Ged­des once said, “Light a camp­fire and ev­ery­one’s a sto­ry­teller.”

And who is this John Ged­des you’re quot­ing?” Un­til I con­sulted with my favourite lex­i­con, Mr. Google, I had no idea. Was he the 18th cen­tury Scot­tish bishop? Maybe the 19th cen­tury Amer­i­can politi­cian? How about the 20th cen­tury Bri­tish cy­clist or the Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist who was once as­so­ci­ated with the New York Times? I lean to­ward the John Ged­des of Maclean’s mag­a­zine be­ing the source of that quote.

Let’s dis­cuss it around our next gath­er­ing around a camp­fire. I’ll bring the birch bark, you bring some stories to tell.

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