I can’t remember ever fearing fire. I am drawn to it.
I know how destructive it can be, and how deadly it can be. For these reasons I respect fire. During this time of quarantine and social distancing, I have kept the television off. I get news reports and happenings via the internet, but most of the time tv disappoints me. There are several shows I enjoy, but to just sit for hours in front of the glowing screen seems to lack a certain truth. There is something about making fire and keeping it maintained and in control that is deeply comforting.
Where does this feeling come from? Some people also find the same feeling by the water. Is there something about the primal elements coming under our control that makes it so appealing? With my fires I make in my fire pit, I don’t feel like I am controlling fire as much as I am calling on it to join me for a while. I am asking for something. I need heat, light, and maybe just the peaceful environment it can offer me.
When people find peace in the water I imagine it comes partially from the ancient knowledge that water is a provider. “If you are here,” the water whispers, “then you will not want.” But just as fire has its deadly persona, so, too, does water.
Fire fascinates me. I can and do sit by a fire for hours like others will for television. I see things in the fire- visions. If I am at peace I can sometimes understand things better because of what the fire says. I imagine it is the same practice that the old soothsayers or shamans found so helpful in their arts. There is tremendous power in the connection between fire and magic. Fire itself might be the last bit of magic left from the old world that we can still conjure with relative ease.
Many times I have gone to the ashes of the fire from the previous night, or even longer, and have been able to stir a flame back to life. This feels like magic to me. If I want one after that small flame comes, I can turn it into a grand blazing pyre once again. And there I can sit and listen to nature. My property joins a minor flood plain to the back end. My fire pit is just on the edge of this little ecosystem. During this time of year the spring peepers come alive from the earth, another bit of old world magic, I’d say. They fill the air with their music. On nights such as these I can relax in peace surrounded my the frog concerto and my fire.
Nature takes notice of fires, too. Often while I sit, something comes along the edge of the light, not quite close enough to be seen, yet certainly not worried about being heard. Maybe it’s young kits wandering away from the fox den. It could be curious coyotes. Whatever it is, I don’t fear it. I think this is why it comes so close.
Finally the scene becomes most impressive because of the moon and stars. The moon, sometimes brilliant in a clear sky, traces her well-known path through the night. The stars, not as plain as they must have been in the past, lay out their mysteries for the most clever sages to solve. All of this for a bit of effort and industry. I hope the fires never cease to impress me. I hope I don’t ever forget how to see them, and how to listen. There is so little magic left in this world. What a pity it would be to never see it.