Building a Fire in a Tree House is almost like . . . I say, almost!

I’ve always loved risk, danger, and a little coloring outside the lines when it comes to living life. When I was a young teen, with the help of some friends, we built a scrappy tree house from discarded lumber in a very large white oak tree in the last bend of the road before you get to my home; parts of that tree house are still there.

It was winter. I loved making fires in the winter – with snow falling, there’s nothing like sitting near an open fire cooking something – anything. So I thought to myself, logically of course: “I’ll build a fire in the tree house and roast hotdogs – now that will be exciting.” Again, with a little help from my friends, we put down a piece of sheet metal on the treehouse floor (we’re about 16 ft off the ground), and hauled up some kindling and logs for the fire. We cut some fresh sticks for roasting, lit the fire, and laughed our heads off. Now this was very cool to see smoke rising up through an oak tree as snow was falling. With a warm small fire and the smell of cheap hotdogs roasting on, literally speaking, an open fire – man we were living!

If you think this story ends with the floor of the tree burnt out and us falling to the ground like a bunch of acorns – nope, sorry – we did not earn the “Darwin Award of the Year” for the “Stupidest Ways People Die,” but we should have. Rather, we gorged ourselves on hotdogs and sat back in that tree house enjoying the warmth of the fire with a smile on our face as the snow continued to blanket the earth. The End.

Not so fast. Where’s the moral, the motto, the axiom of life? Ok – here it is: it’s the ability to live and tell true stories, the ones that have the aroma of risk, adventure and special mercies for not being the brightest bulb in the room. Good grief, haven’t you ever built a wooden boat in the desert, pack it with food and animals, and as the rain is falling and the flood is rising, and the earth is disappearing, then say to yourself over a warm fire for cooking and boiling?, “This is dangerous but safe – thank you God.”

Haven’t you ever done something in your life that was risky and pleasurable, you know, something “Huck & Finn” would be proud of? Now if we had built that fire on the wood floor itself – that would not be something to tell about – now would it:)? Duh.