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Flickering Hope

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It was night; Liza Cornmerry could hear the crickets chirping, and the wind blowing, through the leaves on the trees, in the Redwood Forest in Northern California, but she was gazing towards the square fire pit that her father had made to keep their family warm during the cool Pacific night. The flames blazed all shades of red, yellow, and orange, while the grey smoke floated up through the tall trees. Her older brother, Nathan, was pacing around the pit, when he noticed his sister entranced by the dancing of the fiery inferno, and decided to stroll over and sit next to her upon the log where she was perched.

"Why are you so preoccupied by the bonfire?" Nathan asked.

"I was aesthetically pleased by its beauty, but also I was pondering its effect on the world," Liza replied. "It's my inquisitiveness taking over, especially since we are lost and needed to come up with some strategy to find food, water, and a source of light warmth before nightfall."

The family was hiking up a steep hill when they heard noises in the shrubs, so they wondered off the path. After a few minutes, they were disoriented with no sense of the direction they had originally come from. They hoped to keep walking and find a path before a predator discovered them. Their desperation grew as the afternoon and evening went on. Soon after, they encountered a deer and decided to craft a make-shift bow and arrow for Nathan to shoot the deer with. He hit the deer right in the neck, it stumbled for a few seconds, and then fell to the ground. The family rejoiced then lifted the deer off the forest floor and carried it until they located a stream. They placed the animal down next to the water and then looked for flint and twigs to create a fire. They needed to cook the meat for food, but also needed a source of warmth and light for when night fell. The mother found the fire tools along with some berries that she knew were edible. The father found some logs and rolled them down to their temporary campsite. Then their mother returned with her items. The father then sparked the fire and Nathan began to cook the meat. While the meat was cooking, he made a cubic fire pit. Liza began to wonder why fire could help and hurt the environment when night finally fell.

Liza continued, "I was observing the smoke drifting towards the sky and considering its vast consequence on the big picture of the world, like how it pollutes the atmosphere and damages trees, animals, and ourselves since we all breathe in the air. The contaminated air can cause long-term illness and destruction to the living things that it encounters. If it is not extinguished, spreading flames could start a forest fire that would create larger concern for the rangers or scientists in any park as well.

"There is hope in fire and smoke though. Like how we used it to warm our bodies on this chilly night



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