Facing Away From Fire


Facing away from the fire is disorienting. My ears still hear snippets of subdued conversation and my back is warmed by the fire but everything presented before me is sitting in the inky darkness.

A flicker of light will barely illuminate something in the distance but only for a beat, then it’s gone, and I’m left standing for a moment staring only at possibilities in the distance. Such is the lives we lead.

Happy memories and days past will always carry the songs of long conversations and comfort from the “good old days”. I’ll never forget the friends who made me laugh so hard I cried or the friends that made my heart sing.

Like ashes on the wind will some pieces of past come to haunt me, alighting on my shoulder to whisper weakness in my ear. But the way forward, away from the light and the warmth is another story.

The cold is not ominous, but an unsure hesitation, the threat of making a mistake. Like staring into a tunnel with light at the end, we know that the way forward is safe yet that first step is still done with tension. Every time however we walk from the other side into light and whatever stage fright upon us is forgotten.

With our eyes, darkness is the shape of the unknown. With our mind, darkness is the path into future. With our eyes we see the light of present, with our mind we see the previously illuminated past.

My love for fires stems from the idea that, just like a spark that starts it, maybe looking into the flames long enough will spark a flame of thought in me. I always hope a natural cascade of thought provoking revelations will provide me with light to take to my future.  That is the solace I find sitting beside the real flames, those in the present and in my moment.

But once and awhile, I’ll turn away, and ruminate on the fires that illuminate my future. I guess what is disorienting to me is myself. Is the fire behind me sparking my thought? Or the fires that have yet to be set alight what keeps me up at night? Or, further still, is it the smell of smoke and broken ash that disorients my compass rose?


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