You hit on the juice of the “magic” Mellie was talking about. In my view, “fire” isn’t the focal point, its actually the common factor that brings all of us…and the rest of the firefighting world together. Yes, there is intrigue in learning the strategic aspect of fighting fire. But, the “magic” happens when people come together with a common purpose and interest. The overarching goal of working within the realm of fire helps us (hopefully) overlook our differences, as Sammi so eloquently put it. In crews, my observation is that the common purpose gives crew members a reason to find common ground. Its on this common ground they find the courage to expose the more vulnerable parts of themselves. Once that happens, bonding takes place. Its a good thing to watch. Crew bonds are not easily broken and they’re what make crew members willing and able to go beyond what they ever thought they could do physically and mentally before. Crews are many times as close, if not closer than direct family ties. Your feelings about crew life is normal. And, good for you, that you’ve had the opportunity to experience it. Here’s to hoping something warm and snuggly comes along your way as winter sets in.