By JAMIE ROSEBOROUGH
What is it a about fire pulling us in? A camp fire or one in a fireplace. The staring. The mind manipulation. The wandering. It’s a drug. The dancing flames, the popping, the crackling, twirling smoke, aloft dancing embers, the piled ash remains of something going to near nothing. It clears the mind. Releases the tensions. Centers the focus.
Fire can be started with or without assistance. A small bit of fuel and the breath of life gets it started. Yet it could, in theory, sustain itself for eternity with the right conditions and fuel thereafter. Fire can be controlled from it’s inception and even reigned in its grandest of scales if given the right amount of its own antithetical resources to drown it out. It will decimate if freed given it’s limited natural enemies. Is fire analogous to man’s existence and search for meaning or purpose?
A fire pulls the lonely in. Gathers us together. A cold winter night? A warm summer evening? Fire provides no matter the season. But what exactly? If intentionally set, it seeks help in getting started. It requires care and feeding. A fire can bestow untold fortunes and excitement with the slightest of effort, yet it’s tender should knows its limits. Who doesn’t enjoy a fire? Even if there’s a dislike of it’s aroma, the flicker and dancing of flames in scentless gas logs still accomplish what this gift of survival and sustenance has provided time and again since harnessed by humans. Fake electric fireplaces made with LED lights are bought and put in homes all across the country that are without fireplaces or fire pits in the backyard. People want those flames. People need those flames. Do they even know why?
In a time where eyes constantly wander between devices with who’s doing what and what’s the next nonsensical and asinine thing to know about, it’s lure remains. We find ourselves a people easily distracted and then transfixed by a screen in our hand. Is the screen the new fire? Lord help us if so. Our focus is readily ripped away from family, work, and friends. Yet the flicker of brights yellows, oranges, and brilliant whites along with a chorus of crackles can bring us right back. Back centered to who we are. Who we once were. Who we’re meant to be. Our foundation. Perhaps our purpose.
Fire is the continuum before us that pulls a consistent thread through our entire evolution as a species. It was our life. It was our entertainment. It was our gathering place. It sustained us. Broke us. Replaced us. Fostered new beginnings, inventions, conveniences. Provided too many miracles of modern life to even begin to list. Where did we lose this appreciation? Why have we become so spoiled? So complacent? Is it so far fetched to consider a fire’s unassuming ability to solve complex personal, professional, and society problems? Is fire nature’s natural therapist?
Light one and see. ♦