Living with Fire: People, nature and history in Steels Creek
CSIRO Publishing, $49.95 hb, 200 pp, 9780643104792
Fire, more than any other thing, challenges the divide between the cultural and the natural, between being human and the non-human world. We make a pact, if not with a devil, at least with terrible danger when we use fire; and it is a pact, despite how it might seem in our urban modernity, over which we have no choice. We need fire. It doesn’t need us. If it truly had character, as it so often seems to, it would be indifferent, callous, cruel. And it is this that cooks our food and warms our toes.