Something I noticed for the first time last night was how little eye contact there is around a fire. We talked to each other but we stared at the flames. It’s called soft fascination, E said, in to the fire. It happens with clouds and rustling leaves, too, a lot of things in nature. You can leave the fire and come back to it without feeling like you’ve missed something, without needing to pick up where you left off. You can tune out partially and bathe in the variant light, and at the same time hone in on specifics, like how flames in different sections can flicker at different speeds. How smoke swirls and the heat-side of a new log fissures. How the charcoals fall off the bottom and pulsate orange-red. Fire’s interesting in a different way than a TV or phone, is more a flat surface you set your attention on than a hole it falls into. Fire seems to work on its own channel, visual white noise with a little extra something.
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