It was a cold day with signs of snow off in the distance. He wanders the frozen creek bottom looking for shelter and for materials to build a fire. He knows he needs a fire soon, having lost his gloves earlier after an accidental fall in an open area of the creek, which fall also partially soaked him.
This part of the country is pretty sparse for vegetation; some clumps of dry grass, a smattering of sage brush, and some trees dotting here and there.
The chill now penetrates him as an icy breeze begins to flow like an invisible river. Urgently he seeks shelter along an eroded bank.
Quickly he collects some grass, a big handful of fine twigs, and a little strip of bark from some sage brush to make a fire starting bundle. There’s been a very light misty rain off and on most of the day, now though it is starting to freeze. Continuing he gathers small sticks, some branches, and other wood for the fire. Sensing the impending weather he decides to get the fire established at once, only then he will gather fuel for the night.
By now the velocity of the wind has increased somewhat, his hands now cold, fortune smiles as his fingers are not yet numb, his mind racing, he knows he must move quickly and efficiently. His fire lay is complete, twigs, sticks, and branches carefully stacked, with a cavity in the middle to allow him to insert his burning bundle when ready.
Taking out his Fire Starter Kit, he removes his Doan magnesium bar and some Concentrator Paper, five scrapes of magnesium onto the “C paper” square, he places this into the center of his tinder bundle, then turning his bar over to the spark rod he shaves a hot shower of sparks, the tiny magnesium shavings instantly turn white hot, igniting the C paper square, which in turn starts the bundle afire. When solidly burning he places the bundle in the cavity in the fire lay. Fire spreads quickly into the whole pile, but something is amiss, it begins to die out as rapidly as it began. The finer kindling had burned away before the sticks could start; a gnashing thought, he knows if he had just 15 more seconds it would have caught.
Feeling a bit disappointed he figures it’s time to start over. His mind wanders for a moment, imagining his cold fingers being warmed by the fire. Just as he’s about to leave and go gathering more starter materials, his eye catches hold on a tiny flicker way down in the kindling.
He immediately focuses all his attention, knowing there’s not much time, and that he must be gentle. He remembers a wad of dry hair roots in a baggie in his pocket collected earlier in the day. Placing these near the flame, but not so close as to smother it, he now fixes his eyes on the flame to monitor it, he lets it warm and heat the wad of roots till it bursts into flame, as it becomes fully engulfed he pulls sticks and twigs over, soon he has an engaging fire roaring.
Feeling the warmth of the blaze on his thawing fingers, nose and cheeks, a strange satisfaction comes as he notes the air has now filled with snowflakes falling gently to the earth, the sky has darkened with the setting sun, the fire now illuminates his surroundings.
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Thanks for reading this story, a compilation of my experiences.
Until next time this is Perry Peacock, “Simplifying Survival”