At sunset every New Year's, we make a bonfire at Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown, Mass. The crazy curve of the cape affords a disorienting western view of sunset over water. And it has always been my contention that Provincetown, on the tip of Cape Cod, is so far east, it is actually in a different time zone. The sun sets at 4 p.m.
In the wan 3 p.m. light, we drive to the beach with wood gleaned from the rump ends of friends' precious woodpiles. Some pieces still crawl with gray roly-poly potato bugs. We stand on the shoreline, guesstimate the high-tide line and dig a fire pit.
My secret for building a winter beach fire, especially in the wind -- and there is always wind -- is more Joan than Jack London. I start with what is known to Manhattanites with fireplaces as deli-wood, i.e. the Duraflame log. We pyramid the real logs over the dura-log, cup hands around a Bic lighter and light our chemical yule log. Sue me, Mama Grizzly.
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