Dating and Mating: The Campfire

It has happened before and it will happen again. Two people begin to feel a need to share their lives with another. They enjoy the company of their close friends and relatives but it just doesn’t seem enough any more. Life is becoming rather dull and they long for an adventure. Neither could predict how it would come about.

They met at a dinner party. He thought she was fascinating and she liked his sense of humour. They shared an interest in the outdoors and decided to go hiking in the mountains. A week later they drove to the foothills where the trails began. Each had packed lightly as they trusted the weatherman’s sunny-sky prediction.

The day began as expected with blue skies all around. Distracted by the beauty along the trail they failed to notice how the thick mountain forest hid approaching clouds. Cool moist air was their only clue. The storm struck quickly and they raced down the trail seeking shelter. He reached the old lean-to first, climbed inside and sat quietly cursing his lack of rain gear. She arrived soon after, feeling and looking half-drowned. For a while they rested, silently shivering in the cool breeze.

The downpour had made the steep trail slippery and after a short discussion they reluctantly agreed to remain there over night. Scouring the bushes around them they soon collected a substantial pile of wood. Unfortunately, the wood was soaked and the pieces too large to light. They tried to light them anyway and nearly ran out of matches and patience too. If they had known each other better it would have been more difficult to hide their fear and anger.

She rummaged through her pack, found a knife and began to scrape wet bark off the old branches. They held their breaths as the last match was struck. The dry kindling lit and they carefully nurtured the flame by adding larger and larger pieces of wood. The benefits of their efforts were soon felt. The fire provided warmth and light and a feeling of security in the wilderness. They heated some food and it tasted wonderful. They had never cherished dry clothes as much. Their moods rose with the romance of the moment.

Exhausted by the day’s events, they curled up in front of the fire and fell asleep. However, the rain continued to fall and the lean-to was not exactly water-tight. Rain drops slowly dripped on the fire and on them but was not noticed until many hours later when she awoke, soaked in the dark. She woke him quickly and he shared her feelings of panic as they noticed only a faint glow in the ashes. They would need the fire if they were to wait out the rain in any comfort.

They gingerly cleared off the ashes and hunted for sparks. Repeating what they had done before, they placed small sticks on the coals and blew on them. Their relief grew with the flames. She sighed. He wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. Though shaken they clearly understood what had to be done from then on.

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