It’s open burn season in the mountains right now and that means cool, drizzly March days with a big fire in the yard as we burn the remains of several creepy old sheds that our property held. I love open burn season.
On Sunday, we also managed to remember that, since our shredder shredded its own motor long ago, we have an inordinate amount of paper waiting to be burned. So we made our fire and started tossing on paper.
Early in the fire’s life, I tossed a nice, big stack of paper onto it…
…and almost put the fire out.
Because paper doesn’t burn as easily as you’d think. A big stack of paper is too dense, it smothers the fire instead of feeding it. The edges singe, but if you poke the pile with a stick, you’ll find most of the stack of paper is still in tact and unharmed.
“I don’t believe book burnings every happened,” I grumbled as I tried to rearranged the paper and save the fire. “It’s just some urban legend.”
That isn’t true, of course. I have the same outrage as most free folk do about the idea of books being burned. And I know, like everyone else that the people who burn books are always Nefarious, or part of A Nefarious Group.
But we kept burning paper and I kept making my “There’s no way people burned a huge pile of whole books!” point to my husband every time I grew tired of adding little bits of crumpled paper and wanted to just toss on a stack. He humored me (humoring each other being one of the Pillars of a Happy Marriage). I wouldn’t say he agreed with me, exactly, but he did make only mildly sarcastic comments and he did help me come up with new ways of burning more paper at once.
We were almost to the bottom of Crate #2 of Paper To Be Burned when there, sitting under some random medical papers was a book!
“A book! A real book! We get to burn a real book!” I picked it up and threw it into the perfect book-sized well of incineration at the very top of the fire.
And it burned! Well, the cover sort of melted but then the rest of it actually caught fire. Not fast, but it definitely burned.
“Look at that!” I beamed. “The fire wasn’t hot enough before! You need a HOT fire to burn books. Urban legend confirmed! You can burn books!”
I turned to my husband and found him giving the burning book an inscrutable look.
My enthusiasm fizzled. “Was that book supposed to be burned?”
And that is how I became, unintentionally, Nefarious.
If you’ve been unintentionally nefarious recently, please share. It will help to temper my guilt over the whole book burning thing.