The days are counted in campfires.
Warm hands held to the blaze while cold backs are turned to the darkness made stronger by the light of the flames. A shifting breeze closes the eyes of each of us in turn as the smoke seasons hair and cloth. Cooking sausages on forked sticks gives way to toasting marshmallows and making s'mores. We toy with the fire, and paper plates and cups flare up suddenly, as do twigs and pine needles. The conversation grows softer, as camp sites around us go dark, and more chairs are empty. Finally the last few sit in silence, and the dying embers, the last few flickering tongues, and the rustle of the fire's end, nudge us toward sleep. Leaning over the last of the dull red heat, it's hard to stay awake, hard to hold hands out for warmth when the body is so languid and the mind is so quiet.