I always imagined I’d spend a harsh, wandering, epiphanic winter in a Parisian garrett, burning the furniture to fend off frostbite, breathing the special French carcinogenic air, and celebrating the angst of not being able to eat or communicate. That story’s common enough, though.
Therefore, since returning (again!) to Salem in the new year after a sojourn to my midwestern hometown, I’ve ensconced myself in an eighteenth century Federal Street garrett where I make a fire every night and serve drinks fireside, which seems slightly less passe.
I’m not burning the furniture nor am I (yet) making soup with twigs and pebbles here, but I am on an open, uncleared path, where creation is not a luxury but a necessity. I get very nervous when life comes with a road map.
It’s not clear how long I’ll be in this Federal Street garrett, or why, even, I am there now. These things, I find, tend to make sense in due time.
If pressed, though, I might say something like making fires and keeping them burning.
They use a lot of resources, require a lot of attention, and leave relatively little of value in their wake, but they also warm and save and inspire and comfort and transform.
I think that’s a lesson.