Dear Family and Friends,
In general, it feels as if many things that I thought were all going to come together decided to take a left and B-line straight to Crazytown. Now that I’ve had some time to sit with the confetti of hopes and dreams that have spontaneously combusted and are falling like hail, I’ve had some time to look at things from different perspective.
I like to believe I’m a nature-y tree hugger type of person. But the truth is, I sit in a chair (usually in front of a computer screen) in a box (usually the library)- sometimes that box doesn’t have windows (usually an interior classroom)- and I really actually never experience more than 15 minutes of nature during my walk from one box (school) to the next (home) and vice versa. Instead, I look out window when they are available and write about the nature that I have no time to enjoy.
Today, I send you my ode to the fire within.
“History teaches us that hundreds of years ago forests had fewer, yet larger, healthier trees. Forests today have more trees than in the past, but they are not as large or healthy. Established trees have to compete with undergrowth for nutrients and space. Fire clears the weaker trees and debris and returns health to the forest.
So what does this teach us about fires?
- Fires are cleansing. There are people, things, and circumstances that intend to compete and steal from you in subtle and obvious ways. I wish every toxic person and situation revealed themselves before the drama and hardships occurred. But that is not always the case. Sometimes there are things in our lives that slowly and clandestinely block the good that is due to us- and we tolerate it because you are just used to the undergrowth. It doesn’t hurt and you never thought about life without it.
- Fires reveal who you are by refining you. Have you ever watched a paper or a piece of wood burn. A fire will turn that piece of paper or wood into ash. It may provide warmth, it may provide beauty. If you ever sat by a campfire you can attest to how mesmerizing the flames are. However, it ultimately reveals how weak the paper and wood are to the transformative power of fire. On the other hand, there are certain substances, usually metals, that can withstand the heat of fire and be refined by the process. Unlike smelting and cancilning which change the chemical form of the metal, refining by fire leaves the metal in its original chemical state while only removing the impurities. The refinement process doesn’t change the core or the essence of the object, but it makes it stronger.
- Fires help you reach your potential. I don’t think trees of today ever think, ‘Could I have been possibly be taller?’ I don’t think trees think at all. But you, my human friend who is reading this, are stuck with ambition and hopes and dreams and all of the possibilities of what you life could be like or should be like. Unless you are a Kardashian. Don’t be a Kardashian because there are some trees that are smarter than all of the TV Kardashian’s combined. Back to you though. In order to get to where we hope to achieve in life, we have to go through a couple * cough, or more, cough* of fires. Embrace the natural fires that occur when there is too much undergrowth sucking away your nutrients.
- Fires help mold. If you ever tried glassblowing you would be amazed by how little piece of glass you start out with can turn into something quite artsy fartsy. With patience and a steady hand you can create something beautiful. The best part about glassblowing is that it is really hard to mess up. During the process you can continually manipulate the glass in the fire until you have something you like. I promise you, you are the glass and life is fire. Keep on turning in the fire until you have a creation that looks somewhat decent, kind of wonky and still beautifully unique.
- Fires prove that power is not always destructive. As a society we are so disconnected from nature. Our obsessive consumption and lust for destruction interferes with natural processes and harmonious balance. I think many things in society are no longer functioning the way in which they were originally intended to function. It makes no sense that millions of tons of food are wasted each year, yet we have millions of people who are starving and living in power. The list could go on. I don’t know where I’m really going with this, but the point is: we that have power have to choose to be destructive.
- Fire ignites and compels you to move. May you never get stuck in a burning building.
- The light of a fire can illuminate your path. I’m thinking about the scene from Indiana Jones when he is in some cave doing some adventurer stuff looking for some treasure or hidden stuff, and he has that torch for extra theatrics. Think of your soul/ intuition/ God/ spiritual guide as that torch that is lighting your way in the cave. When everything all around you is pitch black, and a boulder or colony of bats can come out of nowhere to get you, let that fire light your way. Take one more assured step by the light of the fire. Even though you cannot see what is 5 feet in front of your face, trust in the fire will reveal enough… until the next step.
This is where I finish. I’m done. I’m tired of writing.
I hope you are still singing “I’m reclaiming my time”.