The flames flickered. I watched our life expenses go up
in smoke. I will explain.. Mom is a keeper. I found as I cleaned
recently, over 10 years of cancelled checks and statements.
OH MY.. she had told me that she had them and wanted them
gone, but didn’t do anything about it. What better time to do it
than now with 8 inches of snow outside. So with galvanized
bucket in hand I set it in a snow bank and set those papers
aflame. I always loved watching the waves in the ocean or
even water in a stream flowing gently along. This was the same
feeling..I liked watching it.  As I fed the bucket with so many of our
lifes expenses a sadness came over me.  Monthly expenses, the mundane
payments for heating, taxes and such and then monumental
things like a newer car, or a wedding.
I was immediately carried back to years past when I would
take old papers to my grandmother’s home and burn them
in the fireplace. Watching the flames dance, and jumping
out of my skin because she threw a pinecone in and
it started popping and snapping,Smile Great memories!
The smell of the smoke enveloped me and came
into my eyes and burned them. I had to move away.
I stood and watched the flames.. picked up my poker and
stirred them and added more one by one.
The air was cold and the snow was lightly falling
by the time the last checks were added. The bucket
was getting pretty full. Ten years of life there reduced
to ashes in such a short time. When the smoke died
down and the ashes lay black and quiet and smoldering,
I covered them with a shovel of  snow all white and cold.
The steam rose in billows of gray into the evening air.
I shivered thinking I should have worn a heavier coat.
I shoved my hands into my pockets and
I walked slowly into the house thinking of our life
all gone in the ashes.


I was a caregiver for the elderly on and off for over 30 years.I am now retired and enjoying a new life. I love blogging and have kept a personal journal for 40 years. I enjoy the freedom of being creative and interacting with the millions of other bloggers in the world.I love learning the new things that the computer world has to offer. I have made friends that will last a lifetime blogging, something I never ever thought would happen. I hope you enjoy my blog,and will continue to visit me in the future.

12 responses »

  1. I have been doing the same thing only I have been shredding as it is too cold out to burn. I have a burn barrel and we are allowed to burn paper in it and nothing else. It is very sad.

  2. This is simply a beautiful expression, burning and then burying the past,the mesmerizing flames, the short warmth and then the chill of it all.Out of the ashes comes new life…

  3. I love my burner barrel and like you watch it and reflect. Every mth. I go through our bills, and the garbage and the already paid, the inserts etc.. bank statements and all go in to the burner barrel. My dad use to throw something in to the fire to make it pop too! It’s great memories for me. Just tonight I watched some old bills, etc.. go up in flame. It’s a purge for sure. I was feeling your blog!

  4. Very discriptive way of writing my friend, even without the pictures I could picture it all so clearly and feel memories of my own associated with campfires etc. I really believe that no door closes without another opening one way or another. Blessings to you my friend.

  5. I loved this Carol, I felt your every emotion, you do have a way with words, thanks for sharing this, makes one think what we do with our lives. Stay warm. Hugs, Patsy

  6. I think I would have that same feeling watching it if we were permitted to do that. I remember finally gathering things a few years was so much I called a commercial shredder company to send their truck. I had 3/4th of a barrel shredded. WHEW! That was many things though..not just old bills etc.

  7. We did the same when we got our canceled checks back. Something about burning that’s so permanent. No shreadding, no landfill, just ashes. And in no time at all, the job is done. Sorry it made you feel bad.

  8. What a wonderful discription. It brought back memories of a burning barrel we are no longer allowed here. I have a lot to shred here. Somehow it seems we ban one thing and the effort causes another. No smoke in the air but landfills full of paper. Though it decomposes in time the ashes from burning can be turned into the soil for nutrients.

  9. That post was like poetry. In fact it was. A poem about reflections, memories and new beginnings. I Loved it!!! Thank you for posting your thoughts.I rememer when I was growing up in NJ, we had a burning barrel and were even allowed to burn leaves along our front curb. I think I just aged myself badly!! lol. Hope your mom and you are doing well.Gas is $2.89/Gal and it was 80F today. Hang in there!!! Spring is coming.PS: Loving the Olympics! Especially, of all events, Curling! Intense!

  10. Carol, I can relate to your mom……..I am a keeper too!Oh the emotions you must have been feeling burning all those old checks, receipts and statements. I hope that as you looked at them before you burned them…..they brought back some wonderful memories!I am not sure if we can burn here, I will have to check into it. My shredder died and I need to buy a new one. Please give your mom a gentle hug from me! Your friend always, Lisa.

  11. This read like a chapter in a book and in reality it is. It’s a chapter in your life. Hugs, I know how hard doing things like that can be.

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