Smoke from the chimney

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

This is how, if you asked, I would describe our across-the-street neighbor: such a good guy.

He lives in a traditional Colonial house in a most traditional suburban neighborhood. He's my age but is single with no children. In the warmer months, he skateboards to work, and when the waves are good, he straps his surfboard to the roof of his car and goes. He typically dresses in board shorts, even when there's snow on the ground. His shoes of choice are flip-flops and sneakers, and each morning he runs for miles. When he comes back, he crosses the street to pat Clementine the dog, lying in the driveway. He buys boxes of cookies from the neighborhood Girl Scouts and many more tickets than one person needs to the annual pancake festival at the middle school. When he was frustrated by too many cars speeding through the neighborhood, he worked to get a new stop sign installed on the corner.

In the summer, he tends to his vegetable garden, and in the winter, he builds fires in his fireplace, and those fires are the whole point of this post. (It took me a very long time to get there, didn't it?). It's cool, sometimes even cold, now at night when we get home, and thanks to our across-the-street neighbor, that cold air more often than not is filled with the smell of smoke from his chimney. Most nights, in my house, we're too busy to make a fire, even in the dead of winter, and that's a shame. I love everything about fires, including the smell and the sound. I love the orderliness of stacked wood and the containers people use to hold it. And so a goal for the winter: to take the time to make more fires. And in the meantime, feeling grateful for our surfing, skateboarding, gardening, cookie-buying, all-around good-guy neighbor, who already does.

(Photos from top to bottom: Sanctuary; The Ranch at Live Oak in Malibu from Remodelista;;; Catherine Kwong Design)


  1. I love fires too, sadly I often only enjoy fires in gas fireplaces. It almost seems old-fashioned to have a real wood fire these days!


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