Ride Hard: Crackling Fire

A nice crackling fire in the fire place, a toasty warm cabin in the middle of seemingly nowhere, a rumbling and lightning filled thunderstorm rolling through the dark of night and a wonderful man to spend all that with. Can things get any better than that? For me I don’t think they can.

As soon as I stepped inside the door of the cabin I felt the warmth of the open fire, it was toasty warm but not over bearing, which was a good thing given that it also wasn’t freezing outside and a roaring fire would have been too much.

“Feels lovely in here.” I said to Jack as I walked in through the front door.

The fire crackled in the fireplace almost as if responding to my comment.

“Open fires are a strange beast sometimes,” Jack said as we walked across the wooden floor towards the sofa. “If you try really hard you can make them roar but you lose so much heat up the chimney and with a room like this that probably isn’t entirely sealed you lose even more heat through the gaps.”

Okay so it was more of a lesson than I really needed given the compliment I offered but I figured Jack’s explanation was not actually a lesson in fireplace construction simply just chatting as we wandered through the cabin.

“Well you’ve done a lovely job, it’s very comfortable in here.”

“Only comfortable?” Jack replied with a grin as he stepped around me and with his right hand offered me the sofa.

“Stop it!” I said with a smile and sat down. “You know what I meant now sit down and enjoy the fire and the company or go out and dance in the rain!”

“If they are my only options!” Jack said with a smile and sat down.


We sat on the sofa staring at the fire, the dry wood crackled as the flames licked it’s edges then slowly took off. At one point Jack got up and put another log on the fire, enticing larger and more angry flames and more crackling. The large flames alone made me feel warmer but they didn’t last long and by the time Jack had returned to the sofa with me they had eased back in size and the stirred coals had settled down.

I didn’t feel immediately cold or anything like that, the large flames and warmth is a mental thing, but when Jack sat back on the sofa I snuggled up to his chest. With Jack in a sitting position, one leg on the sofa and one on the floor and me laying across the cushions propped up leaning against his chest we relaxed and stared into the fire.

“Suppose we should think about dinner soon.” Jack said breaking the silence after a few minutes.

“Probably, but right now I’m just enjoying this.” I replied and snuggled a little tighter against Jack’s chest.

“Let me know when you are hungry and I’ll rustle something up for us.”

I twisted my neck and looked up at Jack. “You really are a wonderful man,” I then moved awkwardly, probably hurting us both, to kiss him on the lips.

A few moments after we settled back into a little snuggle position the fire crackled and one of the logs shifted as the coals under it burnt away. Jack didn’t seem immediately concerned about the shifting log so I wasn’t either.

“What’s the painting above the fire of?” I asked looking at the large picture and thinking it looked kind of familiar but not able to figure out why.

“Don’t you recognize it?” Jack answered.

To me it was a night time picture of a multi-lane road, with traffic, a few small buildings on the right hand side of the canvas and then the majority of the background and left hand side was trees, mountains and a gloriously large moon in the very top corner.

“Nope.” I said honestly, “There is a kind of familiarity with it but I’m really not good at picking scenery unless it’s something I’ve seen a lot, like the view out my front door.”

“Well it’s close.”

“Huh? What?” I replied very lady like. “Looks nothing like what I see out of my front door.”

“No but it is close.” I said nothing in response and waited for Jack to continue. “If I said California Boulevard would that make it any easier to pick.”

California Boulevard is the road that lead to the coastal highway, it was the road we turned off not far from home before getting on Mountain Highway, which as its name suggests is the highway that leads to the mountains we were staying near. As soon as Jack pointed it out I could see exactly why the painting was so familiar.

“Of course it is!” I exclaimed. “Now that you point it out it’s so obvious. I’ve driven along that road thousands of times but I’ve never really seen it from the artists perspective. It’s wonderful!”

“Yeah, when I saw it I decided I had to have it. I had it at home for years before I brought it up here.”

“How old is it?” I asked.

“I’ve had it about eight years but the artist painted it from a picture taken sometime in the 90’s.”

I thought for a moment then said. “That’s probably why I didn’t recognize it.”

“A few years ago I met up with the artist and got him to paint the other three,“ Jack waved in the direction of three other pictures on the walls, “at the time I asked him if he could add the cabin into hills in the one above the fire but he just laughed at me!”

“I think I would have too!”

“Gee thanks,” Jack replied, I could tell from his tone he was smiling. “Would you like some dinner yet?”

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