I'm so lucky to be learning how to light fires with a hand drill and a tinder bundle made of foraged kangaroo grass seeds, dry grasses and twigs. It's magic of a very special kind with everyone gathered around, intent on the hand drill, willing the dust to get hot enough to turn into a coal and catch fire. As eager hands take it in turns to rub the stick, six year old Rosie sings us a song.
Fire's burning, fire's burning
Draw nearer, draw nearer
In the glowing, in the glowing
Come sing and be merry.
Her singing is joined by other voices as the hands continue to rotate the stick on the wood. Soon we see a tendril of smoke curling from under the stick. There's cheering - fire's coming! When there's an ember, a knife gently lifts it and places it onto the waiting tinder bundle. The bundle is then carefully blown on with dragon breath to coax that little ember to catch alight. The flaming bundle is then reverently placed into the waiting teepee of sticks.
We all cheer, whoop and run around. We made fire with our own two (or twenty!) hands and it feels incredible.
There's nothing better than the smell of wood smoke on a chilly winter's day. I breathe in the smoky air, my face warmed by the fire. When I step away from the fire and smoke I'm reminded that it's cold and I am so grateful for our fire, our oasis of warmth. The smoke lingers in my hair and clothes for days afterwards reminding me of primal connections to the elements and nature. Fire and air are so basic, so vital. Being in their presence is so mesmerising and energising.
I wonder if a day can get any better than this - good friends, outdoors and open fire. Nah, I don't think so!