The Crackling Fire in My New Fireplace: A Words Sketch with a Twist and Some Celebration

That title is relatively precise, is it not? “The Crackling Fire in the New Fireplace: A Words Sketch”. Let us ignore the twist and the celebration for a moment, shall we? So, it stands to reason that I plan to describe… well… a crackling fire, a newly-built fireplace, and probably a cup of hot cocoa. Right? Chicken-soupish, perhaps, or quaint, or bordering on the overly-sentimental… But that’s what you expect from the Weaned Child blog. You take it in stride that I describe cups of tea and warm summer breezes and cozy chairs and, yes, delightful fireside moments with a good book. So… a crackling fire in the new fireplace.

Actually, I plan to describe my steaming warm-mist vaporizer once it’s filled.

Now, my beloved readers, I am not lying, and I did not mean to deceive or mislead. If you truly opened this post with thoughts of a wood-burning stove and only a wood-burning stove, I hereby release you from reading anymore of this post and send you on your frosted, frigid, fireplace-less way.

But, you know, the vaporizer resonates with me in almost exactly the same ways that a roaring fire would—minus the marshmallows, perhaps, but I don’t eat those anyway. The two are side-by-side—no, deeply intertwined—in the part of my mind that stores information about experience and sentiment. Consider:

* This vaporizer is perfectly round with a dome-shaped lid. Now, call me either naïve or teribly frugal, but I haven’t purchased one of these in many years. A dome shame somehow strikes me as more poetic than a round or squarish contraption with a flattened lid. Likewise, a fireplace has its poetic features, from the different varieties of hearth architecture to the mantles and accompanying knickknacks.

* That vaporizer emits steam, often in great and far-reaching quantities. I’ve been known to set it on a countertop, raise my arms far above my head, and still never reach the top of that exquisite steam. Parallel: the warmth, often in great measure, of a well-laid fire.

* Fireplaces just make the endire room smell fragrant, don’t they—all those lovely logs sending up aromas that can’t even be adequately described in writing? (And you’re wondering how I can possibly make a comparison here…) Well, you likely won’t believe this, but my current vaporizer also sends forth what I designate a fragrance, but which you might simply call a smell or a scent. Plastic, water, and some sort of coal, you would say. I do not know exactly why, and I cannot explain the physical dynamics involved, but that vaporizer smells like nothing less than a log cabbin covered with snow—somewhere in Michigan, perhaps.

* Both a fireplace and a vaporizer establish an ambiance—though, it must be said, fireplaces lend themselves to more extroversion than vaporizers do. The latter is for a more confined space, thus indicating use by fewer people.

* Fires are excellent sources of warmth—or else we wouldn’t have found them so valuable over the centuries. Did it ever strike you that steam can really serve the same function of taking the chill off a room, and with much more wholesomeness than an electric heater?

* And what about the small detail of light? Well, that vaporizer is often on when I am in worship, or engaged in study of those beautiful Scriptures. He is the Light of the world. So, yes, having that vaporizer reminds me of times spent very much in the light.

What is the point of all of this? Am I really spending valuable time comparing two objects that initially appear vastly incompatible? Well, not exactly…

Have you ever felt downright different? So distinct from the rest of the population that you drive yourself and others to distraction? Well, that was the state in which I have lately found myself—until the Lord used a precious sister in Christ to clarify some things in my life, and then used Naomi to remind me not to ask the Potter why He created one of His clay vessels the way He did.

Now, I am free to celebrate. To add nearly a clove-and-a-half of garlic to a single serving of pasta until it overwhelmed the tongue like cayenne. To dance before the Lord between bites of garlic bread while listening to “Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble?” in French. To seek out solitude, fall into it like cleansing rest, and to remember that Jesus loves me and that His place for me, in this particular moment, is to worship at His feet. To wrap my writing, my hand-made quilt, and an anointing-oil-scented candle around me like a beautiful white garment and rejoice…

And, yes, to refer to the vaporizer as a crackling fire and employ creative fervor accordingly.

We all need these moments of celebration, but few of us take time for them. I once read about an exercise in which an artist was given one apple and told to draw a hundred pictures. There were apples from so many different angles, apples in different lighting, apple drawings based on the fruit’s ripening, apples with a little bite taken out, various pictures of the apple core once the fruit was mostly consumed… So much to say about a single apple. To me, life is that artist’s apple. A vaporizer doesn’t have to serve the sole function of providing steam. So, I ask you, what object or experience or detail have you hitherto overlooked? What are your lifetime “apples”, and how can you look at them from a different angle? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.


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