Archive for February 2008

morning fires

February 10, 2008

Heating partially with wood has led to my own system for recycling newspapers. I throw them in a wooden box by the woodstove so I can crumple them up to start the kindling, which ignites the firewood. I usually pull the newspapers out of the box to burn in the reverse order that I threw them in there.

Pulling them back out in the chilly, pre-caffeine mornings, I occasionally find myself caught up momentarily in past news stories, in reverse order – of course – of the way they unfolded in real life. If there’s been a warm spell, and I’ve just thrown papers in the box but not taken them out, I may come upon a good long run of reverse reporting when I finally go to light a fire.

This particular morning I’ve gotten caught up in the reverse-order reporting of a local high school basketball team – they started out as underdogs – and their pursuit of the state championship. They played all the way to the finals, ultimately losing to another city. I’m not really a sports fan, but I can identify with kids who’ve worked hard as a team and are trying to win. Even though I already know who has won – because I’ve read the final story first – as I re-read the accounts I become absorbed in the team’s regressive successes along the way and for a few moments get caught up in the fervor of the engaging sports journalism, naively thinking the results might be reversed.

This old two-dimensional newspaper story starts taking on a life of its own, becoming three-dimensional: my fingers are smearing the newsprint onto the handle of my white porcelain coffee mug.