Every day, I walk past my favourite grocery store (which shall remain nameless, but rhymes with "Ali Babba" ). The Ali Babba is at the base of my condo building so I walk past it every day when I leave or return to the condo. Year-round, there are green stands outside the door. In the summer, they are filled with fresh strawberries, avocadoes, cantaloupes and watermelons. In the fall come pumpkins and gourds. At Christmas there are those funny birch reindeer and Christmas trees. Now, there's firewood. There's been firewood for about a month and a half, since the start of the new year, and I walk by it every day, never thinking much about it, until yesterday.
Why is the Ali Babba selling firewood? I can understand the selling of firewood at a grocery store, that's not it. But at a grocery store that's at the base of a condo building, across the street from three condo buildings, beside a hotel, down the street from another half-dozen condos and otherwise surrounded by one-off apartments above storefronts. There's not a house in sight. So either there's an alternate use for firewood (other than for making a fire) that I don't know about, or there are condo suites with fireplaces. And if so, I want one! A fireplace, that is.
In Stuck in Downward Dog, Mara has a soft spot for fireplaces, which I share. Right after I graduated from university I moved into an awful, small, ridiculously laid-out apartmnent (the kitchen was bigger than the bathroom, bedroom and living room put together, and I don't cook). But I fell in love with the place because there was a fireplace in the bedroom and it seemed romantic. Only it was romantic at all, because it wasn't even a fireplace, it was just an alcove that had been tiled over. There wasn't even the option of it being a fireplace since if there had ever been a flue it had been filled in with drywall. What was worse I couldn't even make it into a fake fireplace with candles because the only place my bed would right up against the "fireplace", which hid it from view. So it was either no bed or no fake fireplace.
Today, when it's blizzarding outside, wouldn't it be nice to just stay home and sit in front of a warm, pretty fire with a mug of hot chocolate? Just walking past the firewood after work gives me a hint of that feeling. Of finally being home, and being able to go inside, where it's warm and cozy, with no reason to go back out into the storm. Maybe that's why the Ali Babba has the firewood on display. Maybe no one ever buys it, but that way, the stack never diminishes. It's there, like a beacon of hope, indicating that you're almost home. At last.