The Primitive

I love a good fire. On winter mornings especially there’s nothing like stoking a good blaze and sitting there in the dark with a hot coffee and thinking about my day. There’s something sublime about the feel of watching a blaze, something that stokes the primitive in anybody.

            That’s not a bad thing. Sure, I know that we‘re all bent on contemporizing our lives, making sure we have the appropriate gadget, the latest fad in our pockets or purse and just letting the Jones’ know that we’re still on the radar.

            But we came from primitive roots. All of us. You don’t have to be a First Nations person to claim that. Every person from every culture sprang from a past that was tool-less and free of gadgets.

            When we first moved to the mountains I bought a bow saw. For a while I used to cut the wood for our fire. It was hard work and nowadays I have a chainsaw for that but the old bow saw still hangs in the shed if it’s ever needed.

            But when I used that old fashioned saw I felt connected to something special. It took me back to a day when labor was an integral part of home making. Those days when a man used his back to get things done and it felt awesome to bend my back to the work of cutting wood that way.

            Needless to say I quickly remembered I was fifty and not twenty-two but the thrill of that effort stuck with me. See, we get so used to the ease of things and we’re upset as all get out when things go wrong. What happens in your house when the internet is out for any reason?

            No, modern gadgets are all about speed and when things move faster they tend to lose their charm. They’re just things then. They’re replaceable, dispensable, meant for our convenience and certainly not collectable.

            Me, I’ll take a good old fashioned anything over most new and shiny stuff today. Maybe I won’t use it, maybe it will just hang on a nail or serve as a memento but it will still have something to say. We all come from simpler times. We all come from a time when life was about honest effort and hard work. Call me primitive but I never want to forget about that.


About Richard Wagamese

I am a published author with 13 titles published by major Canadian publishers. I am a First Nations person from the Ojibway Nation in Northwestern, Ontario, Canada. As a professional writer since 1979 I have written for newspaper, radio television, magazines and book publishing. I love the culture of books and the people who populate it. 2012 recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media & Communications. View all posts by Richard Wagamese

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