5 Things That Campfires Teach Us

Just spent the week camping in Yellowstone Park with the family. Great big Wyoming skies, musky forest trails, spectacular Rocky mountain vistas, thunderclap-filled rain storms and, of course, campfires.

Fire Light

There’s a real science to campfires. Whether you prefer tipi, lean to, log cabin, Swedish fire torch or Finnish style, master campfire makers require only a single match to light one up. But science aside, what is it about campfires that make them so memorable?

  1. Time slows down. Build the fire, cook the meal, brew the coffee, smell the sagebrush and study the stars. In all of this, you realize that time isn’t passing as fast as you think. In fact, it may actually be on your side.
  2. The ultimate non-electronic experience. Who is not mesmerized by the leaping orange-blue flames or the pulsing glow of embers? Easily as hypnotic as video games, but far more soulful.
  3. Campfires are soothsayers. Whether native American lore or urban legend, stories told around fires are the best anywhere and quite memorable to boot. This includes creepypastas. Flashlight effects optional.
  4. Firelight is unifying. It’s snapping flames provide warmth and a gorgeous glow. Campfires create a safe space, free from bugs and critters. The kumbaya snuggling effect spares no one, young or old. Guitars optional.
  5. Burning wood brings us back. You may not accept that your ancestors built fires to stay alive, but they did. Evidence from burnt antelope antlers suggests that homo erecti were making fires 1.5 million years ago. Campfires are a sublime way to reconnect to your distant past.

Light My Fire

And don’t forget the afterglow. You must admit, it’s unique compared to all others you’ve experienced. Never imitated, never duplicated, always pleasurable. So, make a point to stop for a campfire or two as you journey to distant places this summer.