As this was the first task we were given in the First Year Seminar, I was very eager to become successful. As we split into groups outside under the hot sun, I told myself that I would be making fire that day. Initially, rubbing the stick was not too bad. As time wore on though, my body, especially my hands, began to feel its effects. The most discouraging thing about trying to make fire in this fashion is that we would be so close to success. After long periods of hard work my group would begin to smell the smokiness and eventually we would see smoke, only to become disappointed as our dry materials never caught flame. Eventually as all the other groups experienced failure we teamed up to come up with the best possible plan. Regardless of this teamwork, we did not get a flame in the end result.
I think this was a really awesome way to start out the semester because when I think of ancient human survival, I think of fire. The discovery of fire is one of the most critical moments in our species and I have to realize that they had to work to get it. People in those days didn’t get to light a match or flick a lighter to get a desired flame, it was much more complicated than that. I know in the future I will try the stick technique again under ideal conditions just to say I successfully built a fire with my hands. That would be really cool.
– Alex Brauser