Esalen's First Yoga Teacher — Teaching yoga since 1968

In Defense of Fire

I can't believe they banned fireplace fires on Christmas Day.

photo of fire I am worried about people wanting to take away my right to have a fire in the fireplace. In the San Francisco Bay Area, Spare The Air directors are going too far, asking for too much restraint, seeming to want no fires at all.

They banned fireplace fires on Christmas.

I am an ecology-minded person. I am in the habit of obeying Spare the Air days. But on Christmas?

As Andi Bruno, owner of Yoga of Los Altos, says, "Fire is part of the ritual experience of Christmas. Your kids are home; you gather around the fire and catch up on each other's stories."

You might point out that the air was terrible on Christmas. It was. We had been a long time without rain, and you could see the air, which is not good. But couldn't the Spare the Air people have gone after other polluters for one day? How about using the Amber Alert signs like this:

CALL 911

Wood fires use a renewable resource and lessen our dependence on fossil fuel. Yes, they add to the visibility--and health hazards--of the air, but maybe they do more good than harm, by warming us and cheering us. If we heat our homes with electricity or gas, how can that be better for the planet? Are we not trying to get away from fossil fuels? And doesn't the cheerfulness engendered by a fire contribute to peace on earth?

I worry about losing my right to have a fire. Fire is good. Fire is humankind's most ancient way of warming a home. I am certain the founding fathers would have mentioned fire in the Bill of Rights if they could have imagined anyone would ever try to take it away from us.

People, let's work together toward better air. Let's each do something, make a sacrifice, to minimize our contribution to smog.

But fire is good.

Email Pam or see Pam Portugal Walakta Writings on FaceBook.