Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Here in the North, when the chimney smoke is horizontal it's likely cold, very cold. Sometimes it's so cold the chimney smoke sinks, or seems to. Most of the year though, I don't notice. But I think children do.
Remember all the drawings you made when you were a kid? Like most kids I'm sure, there was often a chimney with smoke arising. This might be somewhat particular to northern climates but I would guess that one could pick any generation of kids and many of them drew their homes with smoke wafting from the chimney in a sort of pig's tail curlicue. And if the smoke wasn't rising there was likely still a chimney detail.
For me, this added detail speaks loudly. Drawn by a child, a house with a chimney signifies warmth inside. More than shelter, a sign of security, a refuge from a world still so huge, and cold and somehow unfathomable, but yet not, because one's neighbourhood was profound enough back then. A house with a chimney says there's a warm place for everyone. And there should be. If only.
It's Robbie Burns Day. I offer you this traditional Scottish blessing: "Lang may your lum reek." Long may your chimney smoke. And mine too.