When I was young our family home had a fireplace. It’s not that unusual I guess, but every winter when we stacked the logs and lined them with kindling, lighting it all with a match from the box on the mantelpiece, I felt like we were part of a different world, from a different time. We’d flick a switch and sit there in the glowing light of the fire, maybe toasting marshmallows, maybe just warming our hands.
We moved when I was eighteen. The new house had a fireplace, but it had been filled in and housed nothing more than a small shelf. We put DVDs on it. Strangely, they now feel more anachronistic than what they replaced. The fire gave us something real. We sat round it together, forced to be close because the heat and light only extended so far. It’s all nothing more than dying embers now.