Guidelines: Smoke & Stories


By Simon Ambit

I have always enjoyed the fall for everything that it is; it is arguably the best weather we have in the Castle Country area. The only downside to fall is that it ushers in the months of winter, and that means less outside time and fewer campfires.

On a quick weekend camping trip with friends, we stayed a couple of nights out to the San Rafael Swell. We enjoyed climbing on the boulders, seeing many of the attractions and hiking. At one point, the volleyball net was set up and the two families battled it out in a game of “Sand and Stone Volleyball Royale.”

My favorite part of the whole experience, however, was the nightly campfire. Every member of both families would gather ‘round the campfire after dark and enjoy the ambiance and company. At some points, the fire would be in full dance with tall flames leaping at the night above with songs being sung and laughter filling the air. At other points, the fire would dial down to nothing more than the trancing glow of embers while scary stories and shadows lurked in the fringe of the light.

Again, logs were added. Jokes were told, mallows roasted and embarrassing moments in each of our lives were disclosed. It was a great time, for successes and failures were shared and talked about. Support and even a little deserved teasing were occasionally dealt out. Memories were shared and bonds were strengthened among that little ring of smoke and stories.

Like the fires of our camps, we need to make effort to share with our children, our loved ones and our friends the fires in our lives. For it is in the sharing of stories that the flame and the light burns on. Even the biggest and brightest fire goes out if the fuel is taken away. Take time to share our stories with the rising generation. What brings us joy? What has brought us sadness? What has given us strength and what challenges have we faced? What makes you… you?

Likewise, we can seek these same points out for those who have come and/or gone before us. Of course, we may find the occasional bad apple in our family tree. How can you not when you consider that going back just eight generations can yield results of around 4,000 people? Knowing our heritage and keeping the family fires aglow is important.

Kelly Wallace of CNN reported, “A study conducted and published at Emory University involved asking children a range of questions such as whether they knew where their parents met and where they grew up and went to school. The authors found that the more children knew about their family history, the higher their self-esteem and the better able they were to deal with the effects of stress.”

Whether around the fire or the couch, take some time to fan the flames of family and friends by sharing something that burns on once our own lives join the embers.

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