25 September 2013

Warmth With a Click

A puzzled cat demonstrating how to be warm
It got colder recently. So this morning, I walked over to a spot in the wall, clicked over a little switch, and warm air started streaming out of some holes in the floor.

I mean, how crazy is that? One click of a switch, and it gets warm in this house again. I remember years ago, going to visit a friend who had just moved into a new house with a snazzy gas fireplace (it was the first time I'd ever seen one of those). When I got there, she said, "Hmm, it's kind of cold. Let's start a fire," and click, she hit a switch and the flames in the fireplace leapt to life. I was laughing, probably a little hysterically - I had just come from our little place, where the furnace was broken and we heated the house with an airtight wood stove. "Starting the fire" at home meant going outside, getting a log from the wood shed, chopping it into stove-door-fitting chunks, hauling it into the house with a canvas carrier, splitting off kindling, crumpling some newspaper, carefully stacking all that in the firebox, striking a match, lighting the paper, regulating the stove vent (if you left it open too far and too long, the house would overheat; but if you closed it too soon, the fire would die)… And here my friend "started a fire" with one click of a switch. Just like I did this morning.

I really like wood fires; they are the nicest form of heat. But I'm profoundly grateful that I am not dependent on them as my only source of warmth. Being able to click a switch and instantly get warm has a lot to be said for it. The same goes for light, and cooking fuel. Click an electric switch, and there it is.

Life, the Universe, and Automatic Fires. How fortunate we are.

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