Monday, June 20, 2011


On the telly, the flames of a campfire reach out, pull back and cackle. No cuts. No drastic camera movements. No fancy mancy motion graphics to liven up the image. How long would it command your attention?

Not for very long, I'd imagine.

Now, onto a real campfire... the same thing. You're sitting on a rock, a log, and you watch.

Only, it's so hard to get bored with it.

The darkness envelopes us, though we could still see the silhouette of the forest against the sky. Breathing in the chilled air - the air that gently grazed my skin, slowly reaching to my bones. The heat of the campfire melted parts of me that felt it. How peaceful and content we were to have that fire as our accost. The glowing embers of the fire mesmerised me - it somehow feels like it's breathing, in how it fades and glow. Closing your eyes would reward your ears with the sound of the forest, the gushing waterfall, the cackling of the fire and the calling of the insects. Your nose picks up fresh smell of the waters, the burnt leaves, the sweat on your shirt, but mostly, the cold in the air. When we stand up to collect firewood, the ground is uneven and strewn with stones - a dip in ground and we learnt to balance at our every step; an alertness in where our foot lands. And I'm at peace with just keeping the fire alive; tossing in dried leaves as an instant fuel, adjusting the bamboo that catches fire well under a stubborn wood, fanning it with a polystyrene to get more oxygen in and standing up to collect more fuel.

I thought of the people of the old; how they would gather around the fire and magic happens. I sort of understood why now.

Oh, how disconnected we have been from our senses. Televisions, computers.... We see fire without feeling the heat, we see storms without tasting the electricity in the air, we watch the lives of people in a week compressed into a day; all the subtle and slow moments taken out, we see impoverished children running around in the dumps without smelling the stench and to touch their warmth. And on it goes.

We slept before 10pm, because that's what the sky told us when we weren't encased in our rooms with our artificial light.

In the morning, the light woke me, and I climbed onto a particularly big and flat rock on the river and read a book there. It got too cold, so I dragged my sleeping bag out and wrapped myself in it, reading with a natural background music.

I had an impression that one would get bored without all our electronical goodness around, and I was wrong.

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