Upside Down

Episode #633

March 20, 2021

My skydiving guru told me,
“There is no up in skydiving.”

This double entendre observes that during free fall you are always going down with gravity. 
It also speaks to the fact that every body position is correct.

Belly to earth, back to earth, standing or head down there is no up and no down, only stability.
Relative to each other, skydivers are hovering.

Position is always assessed relative to the observer in free fall. 
If a diver flies past a formation he is said to be sinking.
If a fellow skydiver observes you approaching from below you are said to be floating.
Head down skydivers are not upside down because relative to each other they are right side up.

Skydiving is not, however, the message of this story.

Sometimes a thing we have learned long ago and firmly believe can be turned upside down.

Just recently i learned that there is a better way to build a wood fire.
When i was a child my father taught me how to build and light a wood fire in the back yard fire pit.

You start with some balled up newspaper.
Criss cross some kindling in a layer over the paper.
Make a tipi of small sticks around the kindling.
Make a larger tipi around the small sticks.
Light the paper.

This method has been reliable for campfires, fireplaces and wood stoves all my life.
But there is a better way.

Before i talk about a better way to build a fire, know that a fire-starter can help no matter what your fire building method. Here is how my cousin taught me how to make fire starters:

i make my fire starters in egg cartons.
Fill the egg carton holes with sawdust.
Melt paraffin in a 4 cup glass measuring cup in the microwave.
Using a silicon mitt, pour the liquid paraffin over the sawdust until soaked. 
Let cool, then cut the egg wells apart.
Now you have fire starters to use no matter how you build a fire.


The trouble with a traditional tipi fire is that it flames up fast, then you have to add large wood after a few minutes.

Upside down fire:
Lay down a layer of large wood pieces. Leave space between the logs.
Criss cross branches on top of the logs.
Criss cross large kindling over the branches.
Nest a fire starter (wrapped in some paper) on the large kindling.
Pile small kindling on top of the fire starter.
Light the paper.

The upside down fire starts fast.
As the kindling burns it drops embers down to the larger kindling and branches.
The fire works its way down to the logs.
The logs burn for at least 45 minutes before more wood is needed.

In fire building, like skydiving:
there is no “up” side or “down.”

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