A 50 Hour Fire

I love to tend a fire in a fire pit, which I got to do a lot of last week. As part of the Fire & Water journey, the whole group took turns in pairs tending an outdoor fire for 50 continuous hours. It had purpose of being a ceremonial fire in the end for the group. But along the way, it was also fantastic informal communal gathering and shared tending.

I learn things at the fire that I don’t learn anywhere else. There is a deep inner awareness that often settles in me as I stare to white flickering flames and orange burning coals. It is utterly centering for me, syncing myriad of thoughts and feelings to the pace of burning. It’s utter centering that can only come from a slowed roast, one that doesn’t start nor end instantaneously.

Fire needs tending. Movement of logs. Choice of little sticks, small branches, and medium logs. Fire needs a bit of poking here and there to bring energy and fresh burn. Fire needs a little breath, space, and wind. A fire, like a river of water, is never the same twice.

Fire returns me to something archetypal. It’s a departure from the layers of artificial that so often stack and distort in contemporary life. It’s real and in front of you, without question.

Well, I know that there are a lot of directions to go with learning from the fire. For today, I recognize the hunger for “real and in front of me” is a compelling desire. It is the work of getting closer to the heart for me. In the belief that in so doing, we can contribute so much good, cooked together.

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