Last week a group of neighbors gathered just up our local canyon. We camped for the night. As sleep goes, my night was not good. My inflatable mattress transformed into a deflatable mattress at the 11:35pm mark, the 2:07am mark, the 3:37am mark, and again at the 5:15am mark.
But before we climbed into our tents and sleeping bags, we gathered around a small campfire to roast marshmallows and chat as men and boys sitting around a campfire are known to do. I didn't think we would be building a fire since it's been so warm in June, but we were literally five feet from a stream and our fire was very small.
What is it about sitting around a campfire that is so relaxing. Though I haven't done it much, I find the sensation similar to sitting on the beach watching and listening to the ocean waves lap the coastline. We cooked our confections and applied them to chocolate and graham crackers--they're so sweet I can only eat one, and I lived on Danish pastry for two years. And as good as the s'mores were, the conversation was better. There's a benefit to meeting with neighbors, getting to know them better. It makes us stronger, better friends.
Sure, campfires are smelly, leaves charcoal when finished, creates motion-detecting and following smoke, and has the potential to start massive forest fires, but under controlled conditions the experience can be almost magical.