After coming home from a long and stressful day at work, I did something I haven't done in a long time: I made a fire. Not a big fire, mind you. Just a little comfortable fire. I was assuring myself I could still do it with flint and steel. Sometimes, it really is the little survival skills that make me feel truly alive.
Work had run a bit late. It happens and I understand that sometimes I just can't leave on time. The majority of the day had been fine but those last few hours just seemed to crawl by. When I arrived home, I just wanted to relax. Since I've been active in my survivalism group lately, I figured a good way to relax would be to brush up on a few old skills.
There was a log on my patio that I had set out last fall with the intention of carving it. It was nice and dry now with very little effort on carving it successfully implemented. A stick picked up during a recent walk was equally desiccated and laid nearby. With these and some tinder materials, I set to work.
When I was younger I would take every opportunity to vanish off into the woods and practice making camping fires. I would sneak a lighter or some matches, gather some dry brush, and light the whole thing on fire while throw sticks and logs on it. Sitting near it and slowly feeding it until I had a beautiful bed of red coals was a joy I can't even begin to describe. It was like looking over physical potential that I had created myself.
For this fire, I wanted it to be small and I didn't want to use a lighter or matches. Instead, I dug out my flint and magnesium kit. I stood the log on end and set about making a small pile of metal shavings to throw sparks into on the exposed top. Dryer lint usually works very well as tinder for this method. It didn't in this instance. I guess that says something about what type of clothes we all wear now, eh? After switching to cotton balls and petroleum jelly, the fire blazed to life quickly.
Watching that fire burn and slowly feeding it bits of bark and twigs brought back those feelings of the potential a fire can hold. I could boil water, for disinfection purposes, on it. I could cook something on it. I could warm myself with it. I could smelt metal with it. I could scry with it. The key to so many basic survival needs depend on fire in some form or another and I had brought it into being with just a few simple objects. I felt powerful and alive. All from the simple act of making a fire.