Ode to the Furnace |Robert Penick |Flash Fiction

The absolute best sound on Earth to me is the furnace coming on in winter.  There is a click, then a full second of silence, then the whoosh as the gas kicks in and ignites.  There is a certain reassurance there, knowing that something is protecting me and I might somehow outlive the night.  Perhaps we should worship our heat, the way we once prayed to the sun, and make small rites of gratitude for its vital gifts.  Not just the warmth, but the security and potential that warmth provides.  Half of all the world’s great deeds and kind gestures were conceived near a popping fire.

Tonight the temperature drops well below freezing and a light snow falls diagonally west to east across the yard, and I wonder if tomorrow morning will dawn with the brown stubbled lawn covered.  Last week was sunny, with a slight breeze, weather for light jackets and long walks with the dog.  The week before, people were slipping on the ice and sliding their cars into telephone poles.  Climate change or random chaos.  Now the atmosphere can’t decide; one can walk through a pocket of air noticeably warmer or colder and then soon  back into the other.  In this way the world is uncommitted.

In the morning I will wake with the covers lassoed around my ankles, feeling like a recently baked potato.  My life will return to me, slowly at first.  This is my home and this is my bed and these are my blankets that need untying.  Then I will think of obligations and appointments, aspirations and doubt.  I have to let the dog out into the frosty morning.  That’s when I notice the miracle of shelter and warmth.

Photo by Huper by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

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