In her late sixties now, kneeling before the Iron box glass-fronted, soot stained, she opens the door, She faces the remnants of an old fire’s ashes left by he, who the night before, wove the magic of metal on metal striking the spark to open the flames, but he is not present now, on a cold afternoon when she and the night-black cat desire the comfort and warmth of the dancing flames. So, on her knees, she cleans the glass, the cloth taking the soot to itself and leaving the way clear to see the fire’s glory. Rolling up lengths of newspaper, and wringing them like wet rags, the deeds and misdemeanors of days past squashed and rumpled, are placed carefully on the ash-bed, a bit of thin kindling added, and cotton ball teased and pulled apart complete the preparations, awaiting only the striking of metal to metal. Spark, spark, sparksparkspark and the kindling catches, now she feeds the slightly larger bits of wood, and last of all the fire logs, and the door is closed, secured as flames dance. Time to give thanks for the gift of fire, and begin the vigil so the flames do not splutter, glow brightly, die – for this is her true job, to maintain the fire for the day to take off the chill, to gladden the heart, to challenge the cold of winter, until the night comes and in time the fire is allowed to fall away into glowing embers and at finally to grey ash for the night. Until, the morrow, when fire is once more coaxed to life in the iron box, glass-fronted, soot stained.