Winter has mostly descended on Virginia. So our fireplace has gotten a fair amount of use recently. Although the TV will try to sell us all on the idea that a single log can burn for hours on end with the perfect flame, it’s just not true. This type of false fire advertising leads to people buying fake logs from the store because the shame of not being able to build the perfect fire is too much too bear. Obviously I’m being ridiculous now but there is a disconnect between an effective fire and starting a fire. Big logs are not the start of a quality fire. They come later. The beginnings of any great (non cheating) fire is a bunch of twigs. Once they catch, it is relatively easy to add slightly larger pieces until the log is ablaze. The fact that we rarely have to build a fire anymore creates a disconnect with natural order of the world.
In our own lives with American Idol and get rich quick schemes, it is easy to forget that most things that we want to build only require twigs at first. The idea of making a million dollars should be preceded by making a dollar then another. Twigs are everywhere and we overlook them in our lives because we want the blazing fire now. Each of us needs to realize that the big logs or dreams are never going to self-combust. They each need those little twigs or actions to get things started. There is a certain amount of pride that needs to be taken in finding the twigs and small branches to add to the fire. Being smart about not adding the big log too early because the pressure will only snuff out the small flame.
Although it’s possible for a person to become obsessed with their small fire based on twigs, I’ve found that more people are sitting in the dark with their big log and magnifying glass hoping. These pieces could all work at some point but their combination just doesn’t. Knowing where you are in the process and what you need to get the next stage of the fire going is crucial. Your blaze is coming if you build it up right!
Find those twigs!