Friday, January 16, 2009

DREAMING THE FIRE…

Dreaming the fire… 

I first encountered the expression in the writings of Colin Fletcher. According to Fletcher, “dreaming the fire” was a Swahili phrase he’d heard in Africa. 

I took it to mean that state of almost transcendental meditation you often achieve when you’re sitting before a crackling blaze, looking not at the embers and flames, but deep into the worlds beyond, the interior land of soul and imagination. 

Dreaming the fire… 

How often have I sat beside a campfire on some northern shore, where loons called in the dusk and the moon came rolling up from behind the jackpines. Where the Milky Way was painted across the sky as a broad wash of uncountable points of light—so many stars that all you can do is gape and feel yourself shrink to the insignificance of a sand grain. 

Sometimes it was the Northern Lights that came rising up, as they once did when Myladylove and I huddled before a roaring fire on a freezing November night at a camp on the south shore of Lake Superior. On this occasion the Lights were electric blue and indigo, with a wavering rim of turquoise. Awesome, truly, like a magical blue city just over there, across the big lake, beyond the shadows. 

Dreaming the fire… 

Tonight I sit before another fire, this one on the hearth inside the main room of my cozy stone cottage on a small southwestern-Ohio river. Outside, there’s snow on the ground and more on the way. The temperature is below zero—maybe well below, though I haven’t checked lately. 

The only light inside comes from the cheery blaze. If I look upstream, through the glass, I can see the white trunks of sycamores leaning like thoughtful Druids over the black water. 

There’s music on the stereo—some haunting old Celtic fiddle pieces that I love because they reach something within…but which I can’t play too often because, well, they reach something within. 

I can play them tonight, though. Because tonight the world—my world—is pretty good. My heart is full. I have love and work and if I’m lucky—and blessed—a few more years to follow the northcountry two-tracks, to look for rising trout, to see hillsides spangled with trilliums, to amble a trail through smoky hills, to hear an old gobbler ring in the dawn. Books to read, music to hear, adventure to enjoy. 

Or so I hope and pray as I sit here in the sweet darkness. 

Dreaming the fire…

15 comments:

The Solitary Walker said...

That was so beautiful I've just read it twice!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Solitary…

From you, now, a mere "thank you" seems inadequate. Hope you're doing okay. And truly, Solitary, thank you.

Val said...

"There’s music on the stereo—some haunting old Celtic fiddle pieces that I love because they reach something within…but which I can’t play too often because, well, they reach something within."

I can't add anything to that. All I can say is that "I get it".

Thank you for your beautiful post.

giggles said...

I ditto SW....

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Val…

Thank you—and I'm glad you do get it.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Giggles…

I do appreciate that…thank you.

jinksy said...

That entry made my heart feel full - I could almost hear the music.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jinksy…

I don't know what else to say except thank you.

Music…words…nature—each are powerful forces in my life, and more often than in combination.

forest wisdom said...

When I "dream the fire"--more specifically the campfire--I see my ancestors of 10,000 years ago or more, in some Eurasian forest or on the steppes, or huddled in some cave, drawing pictures of the hunt in pigment upon the walls by dim torchlight...and in some strange way beyond articulation I am one with them in that moment of staring into the fire....

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Forest…

I know exactly…exactly!…what you mean. And I'm not a bit surprised you "go" there.

A good campfire is a window to the primeval, a window back through time. At least for some of us…though in my case it's the old ones in their skins and rough clothing, their distinctive carvings decorating bits of bone; there's the smell of roasting meat mixed in with the woodsmoke, the sizzle of grease along with the pop and crackle of flames…and across the fire, a storyteller leans close, eyes reflecting the light, and begins to speak…

Do you understand? Can you see who I'm talking about?

forest wisdom said...

Grizzled,
I think I can....

Bella said...

You just captured the exquisiteness of living!

Bella

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bella…

For me, simple pleasures—elemental, even—are where and how I find my peace and reason. I'm glad there are others who understand.

Thank you.

dignature said...

I've read Colin Fletcher too, and that passage left a deep impression on me too. Thanks for describing it so well.

Grizz………… said...

Dignature…

Wow, I had no idea anyone ever read my old posts—but I'm glad you did. And I'm especially pleased you enjoyed it. When I redid the layout a couple of years back, all the old stuff just became one single paragraph—so I know it was tough plowing your way through. (I'm going to try and edit all of the to make them right.) Colin Fletcher is one of my favorite writers. I believe I have everything he's written.

Finally…welcome to Riverdaze! I hope you vist often.