It all started with a haircut. I had planned to cut Bob's hair that night, and I always do it in our bedroom so that it's contained and easy to clean up from off the wood floor. Anyway, I did my usual professional cut (haha), and vacuumed up afterwards while he showered. At that time, it was late enough that climbing into bed to watch a show sounded divine, so we did just that. And then a torrential downpour started. So much so, that we decided to hop up, turn the deck lights on, and watch the storm from our sliding glass door.
When the storm calmed down, we continued on with our show. After a bit, I noticed I had left the deck lights on. I figured since the room was a little on the stuffy side after Bob's shower, I would get up, turn the deck lights off, and open the sliding glass door for a bit of fresh cool air. It did just the trick.
Several minutes later, we both smelled what we thought was a bonfire, and talked about how strange it was for someone to be having a bonfire so late on a school night. Oh well. Bonfires are not at all out of the norm for our neighborhood, and maybe it was an End of the School Year Homework Burning Party like our kids had every year. Again, our curiosity got the best of us, and we hopped out of bed to see if we could see who in the world was having the bonfire.
We looked out the door to the deck, and saw nothing behind us, or to the east. And then we looked to the west.
Down at the other end of our deck, by the family room. The light fixture was on fire! Whaaaatttt???? It was surreal, and may have taken me a second or two to process. Bob acted quickly and doused it with water.
You can see that the metal bucket just below the light fixture was holding a fire also.
The simplest explanation is that that particular lantern is where we have had finches building nests year after year, and yes... I have actually cleaned it all the way out, only to have them rebuild. This year I noticed they had packed it especially full -- all the way to the top with nesting material. And it was ever so solid. In fact, so solid that this is the first year we haven't had to rescue baby birds who had slipped out of the nest. So, there was plenty of kindling, and that fire could have burned a while longer. I am pleased to say that the finches had already left the nest, so there were no lives lost in our little fire.
Their are some extraordinary things that happened that night, to make what could have been a scary, horrible experience, into something small and easily contained:
-I cut Bob's hair, which led to him taking a shower at night, which led to our room being stuffy and hot, which led to me opening the sliding glass door (which at night, I only do once in a blue moon -- maybe once a year), which was the only way we were able to smell an unusually-timed bonfire.
-I had a metal tub underneath the light fixture because we've had many a baby bird fall out of that nest, and we've had to rescue them and put them back in. I leave the tub there, with shoes, etc, for a soft landing for the little hatchlings. In this case, the metal tub contained the fire that was dropping out of the lantern, and the deck and surrounding objects didn't catch on fire. Looks like I may be in the market for a new pair of gardening shoes.
As you can see from the lantern, there was still plenty of fuel for the fire that could have burned for a while longer.
I know there are many out there who would say it is all just a happy coincidence, and others who might say that this really isn't that big of a deal. I, however, know it is a tender mercy, and that it could have evolved into something much worse, considering our wood deck, and our timbers supporting the roof overhang. Things happen, promptings are heard, actions are taken, feelings are felt, thoughts come into our hearts and heads, and tender mercies are happening all around us. Too many things had to happen for us to even know that there was a fire burning in the first place. On any other night, that door wouldn't have been open, and we wouldn't have smelled anything until possibly it was a much worse situation. How grateful I am to know that we are watched over. And that if we slow down and listen, that we can be prompted and guided in the little things as well as the big things.