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April 2016, vol 12 no 1

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Bill Waters

Only You Can Prevent . . .


When I was younger, my best friend and I liked to go hunting for bog iron, deer antlers, and other curiosities in the New Jersey pine barrens – particularly in the winter, when there were no biting flies or mosquitoes to bother us. We didn’t mind the cold especially; we’d keep moving to stay warm, and at the midway point of our hike we’d build a little fire to heat up some food.

I remember one time when we’d made a fire and were a little short on water to put it out. The ground was too hard to bury the flames, there was no groundwater or ice nearby, and our drinking water was mostly gone.

While I was still thinking about how to put out that tiny little fire (because hypothetically speaking even a match flame could be enough to start a blaze if it spread), my buddy took his stout walking stick, stood it in the center of the fire, and pushed it – flames, twigs, coals – deep into the ground. Poof! Gone. It was like turning out a light.

It never occurred to me that the heat would thaw the frozen mud beneath it.

snow on the wind . . .
we set our sights
for home


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