I love the
elemental qualities of fire. Unlike
other elements, it requires the
participation of the other elements in its being. It requires fuel which is from the earth and
it requires air for the process of combustion to occur. And though you think of water as putting fire
out, fire actually liberates and frees water from grasping onto its complex hydrocarbon
containers. That is why you get those
huge clouds over forest fire, huge amounts of water vapor and heat is being
complex carbohydrate + spark + air = carbon dioxide + water vapor +
for its heat this morning, as it is the first freeze of the season up here. There is an art, or at least a process, to
making a fire. Mix dry, crumpled,
individual sheets of paper and small, small pieces of wood, layer with lots of
space/air between, some small pieces of wood over that, than the large pieces can
go over the top after the bottom has caught.
I wondered if that could be an analogy or metaphor for how humanity
might take on new ideas and change. A
critical mass of grass roots igniting, taking in larger and larger entities
until institutions are consumed too. And,
of course, a mega spark, like lightning, can consume huge ‘pieces’ rather
There was a
favorite snag, what had been a huge ponderosa pine, next to Horseshoe Cienega
Lake where we spent many, many summers.
We visited it daily because it was on the far side of the lake, where
there were seldom other people and the dogs could be off leash. Often, one of the family of osprey that spent
the summer up there with us, was sitting in the tippy top looking for, or
consuming, trout from the lake.
Around midnight one
night during monsoon season a great storm broke out. You are at 8500 feet elevation there, so it
seems you are IN the storm and not just under it. The lightning and thunder was unusually close
and all four dogs were up in the bed.
Raziel, the oldest, is the most afraid, and was trembling in my lap and
insisted on being comforted. So I sat up
and enjoyed the brilliant flashing and crackling, thinking that we were safe,
that the rubber tires grounded the trailer.
Truly a high point in my life, and it was just about to go over the top. About 20 feet away, in a small clearing amongst
the tall pines, a ball lightning, St. Elmo’s fire, appeared. I questioned my vision and sanity, but it was
there, 3 to 4 foot diameter, just floating above the ground for about 2
seconds. Holy shit!!
Next morning, there
was absolutely no evidence of the ball lightning, but we found the snag ¾ consumed
and still standing, smoking like a giant cigar.
It took several days to go out; then the skinny stick that was left fell
to the ground to rot out in the ‘normal’ way of wood.
Sometime I feel
like that ball lightning. I get a flash
of inspiration and clarity, but I am isolated and floating and can’t pass the
inspiration on, and then it is gone, the ‘everyday’ consumes me and the spark,
and there is no evidence of it. It would
be nice to be more like the snag and slowly smolder for a few days, luxuriating
in the dissolve. Or, to be a piece of
dried kindling with my tribe of kindling and start a really big fire.
We have been plagued
with forest fires here in the west lately.
It takes prolonged drought, crispy dry.
It takes lots of small pieces (as opposed to the open park like
structure of old growth forest). It
takes lots of wind and moving air (air as a symbol of intellect). It takes a spark. After, everything has dramatically changed
and YOU CAN’T GO BACK.
are you ready?
this is the fallen snag…i love that it is in a cross formation!!
spark, come into
forming various and
to move about
among other organics
that have taken on
various other levels of spark,
to visit, to
witness, to appreciate
that is patterned
We play among the
continuum from spark to organic being
with a rich chaos of
thought and emotions
in the between.