Monday, June 29, 2009

Campfire Thoughts

I had forgotten that I am capable of slowing down so completely, but this weekend camping reminded me. Somehow taking the time to leave home and go into the wilderness with nothing more than the essentials stripped me of my need to be in total control and to understand everything. Watching the flames of a campfire dance in the darkness I finally took a deep breath and let go of some of the hurt. I set it in the deepest heart of the fire and watched it burn out under the spinning of the stars through the velvet sky. The dark red embers throbbed with all of the intensity of my new-found lostness. The instability and fears, the aching of surprised betrayal, the feeling of the world falling out from under my feet; it all went into the ring with the wood. Some pieces snapped and rained showers of sparks into the night sky, others burned long and steady. I warmed my face and hands in the flickering heat and then turned my face to the sky. When the flames died I stirred up the embers into a glowing bed, bumping off their ashy jackets to reveal the glowing hearts within, creating a carpet of orange-red jewels cupped in the darkness of the fire ring, surrounded by the deeper darkness of a mountain night. Bats flew by overhead and something moved in the undergrowth nearby. Somewhere a coyote sang his song to the stars. With a startled rush I realized that peace had crept into my heart where only pain and bewilderment had been unwelcome guests and I couldn't remember when it happened. I only knew that in that moment I was held in peace as if wrapped in angel wings that were shaped like the oak saplings that embraced our campsite in privacy and quiet.

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