After all the family clamor disappears onto the shuttle headed for the ski slopes, once the dishes are clean and the dog settled down, I make a fire. Despite or because of my watery nature, I love making fires. Sure, I adore any direct source of heat, but of them, fire is indisputably the finest. Each fire is its own sweet beast -- broad and bright, low and embered, symmetrical or crooked. I love the way each log rests on the next, the ritual of creating that loose pyramid so the air can get through and meet the flame, feed the flame. I love how the fire seems to devour the wood, but in truth only transmutes it into smoke, ash, ember. It reminds me of what little I remember of physics: that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, only transformed. It reminds me of why I want to be cremated when I die, after anything useful is harvested. It reminds me of the Bible; ashes to ashes, dust to dust. I love the way the logs shift across each other as they burn, each igniting and collapsing onto the next in messy succession. I love the ash beneath the wrought iron fire stand, heaps of grey feathers, a pillowy alien terrain lit by falling sparks and the miniature inferno above. I love where each flame gets blue at the base, the hottest place, how sometimes that blue flits across a log’s face as if trying to escape or just brag its grace. I love how some fires burn from the edges in, and some from the middle out, and some from the base up. How we’ve built these containers to bring this wild thing into our home, like the husky asleep at my feet that later will remember its wolf and howl into the falling snow. How the closer we get, the more apparent the magic and danger grow. What wildness lives in us, and what heat. How we make in our safest places room for what could destroy us, but doesn’t. Doesn’t yet.