Night fell slowly, a few stars came out with a half-moon, and we pulled our chairs closer to the glowing embers as the temperatures slid lower.
It was the first fire of the season.
Sunday was warm, and dry, and he has a pile of wood pieces from when he replaced the roof, so he spent the afternoon memorizing studies and key points and feeding a small fire in our backyard.
As afternoon slipped into evening, I joined him, reading while the daylight lasted, taking breaks to quiz him.
But when the sun had disappeared on the other side of the house, he set the cards aside. Friends joined us, their gentle dog sleeping between their seats, and we watched flames rise above a bed of coals while the sounds of day faded away.
This was the first night warm enough to sit outside, and it was good. it came after weeks of watching the pressure of time and papers and grades to be maintained press heavy on him. It came after a conference in Philadelphia followed by a quick weekend in D.C. It came after meeting and legal filings and trying to parse obtuse language and circular comments.
But at that fire it slid away, and we relaxed and saw the rest of our life all around us.
I fell asleep to the smell of wood smoke lingering the air, even after I closed those windows, and woke refreshed.
And Monday the afternoon rain started while I drove home from a tense court hearing and the temperatures fell and it’s raining today, but it’s April and that’s what you expect in April.
And the semester’s drawing to a close and the sun will come out again and we’ll have many more fires in our little backyard.