Fire in the Dark

It was a warm summer when Jacob went for a hike in the woods.  The birds sang overhead, and the insects chirped underfoot.  He loved feeling like he was walking through a green tunnel, and that nothing existed in the world except for him.  He had sturdy shoes on his feet and carried a backpack on his back.  In truth, the backpack was likely bigger than he strictly needed, considering he only planned on one night.  Still, didn’t hurt to be prepared.

Of course, any seasoned hiker will tell you that it actually does.  He was unused to carrying so much weight, and his pack didn’t quite fit him comfortably.  Despite taking his time enjoying his hike, he was soon feeling pretty tired.  It didn’t help that the straps were beginning to wear at his shoulders.

He sat down in a shady spot where he could enjoy a quick rest.  He had an egg salad sandwich for lunch, and a warm beer to wash it down.  His view was magnificent looking down over a lake.  Waves lazily rippled across the surface and birds cried and wheeled overhead.  Occasionally a fish would pop up; presumably munching on a tasty insect.

He finished the last of his sandwich, and the last of his beer, and hoisted his pack back onto his back.  The strength he had regained from his rest gave way quickly, so that soon Jacob was huffing and puffing, with his back bent.

And it’s not that he was lost, he was following a trail after all, it’s just that he didn’t know how far along it he was.  When he saw that the Sun was going down, he decided that he wasn’t going to reach his campground that night, and that he was better off settling down right there.  He set up his tent, and laid out his sleeping pad, and gathered wood for a fire.  It took him three matches, but he got a nice little fire going, where he cooked up some oatmeal, and bacon to go with it.

The Sun set completely, giving him a magnificent red horizon.  But the moon failed to rise, leaving his fire as the sole source of light for him.  In the distance he heard something howling, and something else respond.  Jacob shivered, despite the warm night, and moved a little bit closer to the fire.

Is there anything cozier than a fire on a moonless night? he thought.

He just had to make sure it didn’t go out.

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