Gathering Kindling

My daughters and I watch New York Times clips of Dr. Ford, my 13-year-old’s eyes wide, her hand paused over her algebra homework at the kitchen table. My 19-year-old and I talk and talk, and then she replays Kavanaugh’s testimony. The 13-year-old says, in wonder, Someone is lying. She ponders this, then says, Why would someone lie?

Tomato vine by cauliflower plant, I empty the garden, exposing black earth, finishing the final coat of white paint on a few patches of clapboards, eyeing the porch windows and gauging when I’ll plastic those for the winter’s duration.

In the dark this morning, my daughter and I talk briefly in her room, rain beating on the roof. Cold October rain illuminates foliage colors, tugs out the very best. I mention I’m going to paint the dining room a sunflower color this weekend, the window trim Santa Fe blue. Cool beans, she says.

What concerns me even more, though, is the loss of those values the (communal) fire precipitates and reinforces… How will the affirmation by others of one’s own necessity in the world be validated? What will be the opportunities for profound courtesy and for ceremony, of which there is such a dearth in the modern world?

We can lose the communal hearth and survive, but survival without the values of the hearth… seems a brutish prospect, a retreat into intolerance.

From Barry Lopez in Hearth: A Global Conversation on Community, Identity, and Place