Saturday, June 2, 2012

We Didn't Start the Fire-But We Sure Enjoyed It

This is somebody else's, plundered from google images. Mine was much prettier.
My entire ninth grade year's worth of schoolwork, hoarded over the months into a single stack, is 4 1/2 inches tall. That may not sound like much, but paper is thin. It takes approximately 108 sheets to make a half inch. In other words, that's 900 papers.
Those aren't skewed statistics. This pile was purely paper-homework, in-class assignments, notes, and a few take-home fliers, much of it double-sided. I didn't count in folders, which are sufficiently thicker than papers, or binders, or my planner, or my math notebook. I recycled a few math and Spanish papers back in January and kept a few projects I happen to like. But besides that, it's all there.
AP geography portfolios. Science fair. Math worksheets. AP geography practice tests. English reports. AP geography chapter outlines. Spanish term projects. AP geography vocabulary definitions.
Diversity didn't matter in the end. All of it burned the same.
It took hours. My friends came over around nine, bringing marshmallows and their own piles. While we waited for my dad to come home and start the fire, we sat on my back porch, eating M&Ms and screaming out the lyrics to "What Makes You Beautiful" or whatever else they pulled up on my iPod.
That phase of the party lasted about half an hour. The following three were spent shoving papers into the fire pit nonstop. We barely had time to roast s'mores. At first we crumpled individual papers in an effort to spread the fire to the coals, which never actually cooperated.
Fire is one of the most beautiful things known to humanity, especially when this is the fire you've been looking forward to since we did this last year. It's what got me through those grueling nights of geography homework (you know you're an honor student when you consider sleep a hobby), just thinking of these blasted papers catching fire. It's funny, as much as I hated them, I never deeply imagined the fire itself. It was more the general idea of burning, all this busywork being gone and over. I didn't envision it the way things turned out. I wish I'd taken pictures, but I was too busy to run into the house.
I love the way pencil lead shines silver with flames beneath it, the brilliance of light through white paper, the green glow blue paper casts. The way it crumbles in on itself, brown tinged with violet edges shrinking to black. The heaps of ash sheets when we began igniting entire heaps to speed things up. The way you find whole papers surviving unscared when you stir up the ashes. The black crumpled pieces wrinkled with orange. Embers shooting off into the night like the fireflies we don't get in Utah.
I did my folders later, the colored ink bleeding teal. My Spanish binder dangled from a marshmallow stick. The plastic bubbled and conformed with the cardboard, the pink kitty cover fading, any grotesqueness shielded by the light.
My planner, which I almost didn't dare do. I treating the thing almost like a diary. My depressing daily homework lists, my doodles of stars, and the bucket lists, weekly goal lists, and over-the-summer lists. It died in pagey wafers and took forever about it.
My finale was my math notebook with all the feelings of boredom and contempt it held. Goodbye to my dooles-a seahors, a dinosaur, a volcano, a Victorian style manor.
Hmm. That might have been useful for next year. Never mind.
My friends were done more quickly. They just finished seventh and eighth grade, so they didn't have the option of taking honors classes. Hanna and Natalee left early because of curfews. My friend Ashlin picked up on their piles once she was done with her own, but I was burning all through the night until we finished at 12:30 A.M.. The ashes flowed over the edges of the fire pit, even after we knocked some into the dirt and released some as embers, dancing up to the heavens like the fireflies we don't get in Utah.

Don't you think it's slightly ridiculous, that all this comes from a normal year? Am I the first person to count and analyze it like this, or just the first to enjoy it?
We did enjoy it alright. I hope every day of the rest of my summer is this amazing.

No comments:

Post a Comment