Wellbeing, it’s elemental. Part 4 : Fire

We Celts are never shy in celebrating – more often than not it involves music, dancing, alcohol and fire. Even in this strangest of years we’ll be welcoming in the New Year with a celebration around the fire. Of course it will be a quiet affair beside our  own hearth rather than on top of a hill where a community gathers beside a hastily constructed beacon blazing ostentatiously. How I long for those atavistic days! Having to scale down Bonfire Night affected me more than almost every other festival this year. Truly!

Fire stirs something deep within me and never fails to soothe. Not that I’m a pyromaniac you understand but I’ve spent hours tending bonfires after dusk on the allotment, love the daily routine of laying a fire in the hearth and am fanatical about the log pile. I adore a firework display but my passion is for the accompanying bonfire. One day I’m determined to do a spot of firewalking. 

To celebrate the end of 2020 I’ve splurged on a cornus for our cottage garden. Cornus ‘midwinter fire’. It’s a beauty and will go some way to assuage the lack of fire celebrations this year. Whenever I look out of the kitchen window it will remind me of 2020 – the craziness, the changes, the interruptions and the sheer joy of living in the moment. 

Bonfires and clutter clearing


Emily Dickinson reflected that the passing from one year into another is a time to reflect on “how many things we have omitted to do which might have cheered a human heart, or whispered hope in the ear of the sorrowful…” My Twitter feed is buzzing with resolutions of spending more time with family and friends, slowing down, rekindling hobbies and volunteering. 

I am determined to tackle the build up of clutter. This will cheer ‌my heart. January is a good time for a bonfire. Yesterday’s prunings from the garden and some old paperwork made a good blaze on a chilly late afternoon. There’s something relaxing about watching woodsmoke curl upwards with a cup of coffee in your hands. There will be other bonfires this month as we prune the fruit trees, the wisteria and the roses whilst they’re still dormant.

Getting the teenagers to sort through their wardrobes and fill a bag for the charity shop will also gladden my heart – as will clearing my backlog of filing, sorting through the seed tin, making a list and ordering seeds to sow in a few weeks time. There are a myriad studies about the benefits of clearing clutter – whether you’re into feng shui or just crave a dust-free clear work surface, having a clear out gives you an opportunity to sort, organise and simplify your life, space to be creative and productive and a feeling of well-being. 

Happy New Year.

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