My good friend Mike says, “tending your fire is like tending yourself”. I think he’s right. A glowing bed of coals is the heart of the fire. It is where the heat comes from but those coals have to be fed or they go out. As I’ve been reflecting on the solo fires from this past weekend and the brave women who went out into the forest to take the journey into the night I’ve been thinking a lot about why the solo fire is such an important part of my life and why like Sit Spot I want to share it with others. Tending a fire is sometimes work and almost always worth it to me. We need it both for survival and as a great teacher of presence. The more I practice tending the fire and spending time with it the more I get out of it. (Very much like sit spot.) The harder I work at tending my fire well the fewer toxic thoughts run through my mind. The more I watch it the better I understand how to feed it. A near perfect metaphor for living. Staying up all night with a fire in this way for the first time reaches into the depths of determination we each carry with us. We have to keep it alive. We have to keep ourselves alive by feeding it, watching it, tending it. Sometimes we doze off, sometimes we put on wood that's too rotten and it creates a lot of smoke. Sometimes, you have to feed it constantly to keep it alive and sometimes it goes out. No matter what the night comes. With a Solo Fire you walk the edge of light and learn about life. This is why we do the Solo Fire.
Tomorrow evening there will be five AMAZING women scattered along this quietly babbling creek with only them and a fire all night in the middle of no where. The moon is new, the leaves are raining to the ground opening the canopy for the stars. They will hear the birds welcome the sun and watch it rise into a blue sky. They will find out a little more about themselves, what they are capable of, and they will find out a whole lot about tending a fire.
Because sometimes nature throws you a true wild card knowing how much you love insects and creepy crawlies as well as something completely new to marvel at while playing a hiding game - totally got caught because I was messing with it. I will never be older than 10 when it comes to insects.
Today marks the end of another season of summer camps which is always bittersweet. Daily visits to this spot will fade into weekly visits.. and as the seasons change I will find myself missing all the children from summer. I will gaze longingly into these waters waiting for the next opportunity to drench myself in games and laughter and catch the light of the sun upon my skin. I am thankful beyond words for the children who teach me and brighten my life. I am thankful for the way the river shows up day in and day out to teach me and brighten my life. I am thankful for the earth that shows up day in and day out as my greatest teacher. But, for now, I'm looking forward to sleeping in and the rest that comes. Here's to another - THE BEST EVER - summer!
I traded a handmade necklace in a trade blanket with a young friend back in the winter for these seeds. She had saved them from the previous summer. I think I got the better end of that trade. (The goldfinch and bumbler bees agree.)