I’ve always liked fire, I mean that in the most non-pyromaniac like way of course. There’s no urge to start fires in random places or cause destruction it’s just nice to look at and feel for me.
Recently we got a log burning stove installed in our house and now I also enjoy the process of building a fire. When I first started with it I figured it’d be a pretty easy thing to do but I’ve now learned that there’s so much more involved in doing it that it almost becomes an art form. Needless to say, the act of burning wood (properly) can be a seriously rewarding little activity.
It got me thinking about why we as humans have such a fascination with fire. That feeling of sitting around a campfire or hearing wood crackle as it burns generally has the effect of making most people feel relaxed and content or in the case of me and my girlfriend, it has the effect of warming up our freezing cold house! There’s even videos on youtube that imitate real fires, some of them are in 4K which is pretty cool if you have a nice tv, they won’t warm up your environment but they will induce those feelings associated with a real one.
A piece of research undertaken at the University of Alabama showed decreases in blood pressure when volunteers watched a fire, complete with crackling sounds. The longer they spent nonchalantly watching the lower their blood pressure became with an average of five percent in most. The idea behind this is that we as humans may have evolved to enjoy the feeling of being around a good fire. Spending time around a fire for early humans meant greater social cohesion among groups whilst spending time at a place they felt safe and warm. So even more excuses for me to sit idly stoking my precious fire. If you’re a science geek like me the paper linked above is well worth a read.
The stove has kind of taken over my afternoons since we got it. I’ve got a little routine of starting the fire and then adding to it, before I know it I’ve been sat in front of the thing for hours. However, it never feels like a chore to me and this is coming from someone who hates doing normal household chores. I want to say the whole learning process behind it is one day going to save my life, if I ever get trapped somewhere cold I’ll be able to build a pretty awesome fire, though I won’t be able to check the moisture content of the wood or watch my stove thermometer slowly build up to the optimum burning temperature!
I’m actually thinking of buying a proper wood cutting axe to complete the whole set of tools we’ve been steadily collecting.
Bottom line is, fires are cool and if that makes me sound like I have pyromania then so be it. At least I have my stove and you’re probably just jealous anyway!