Creativity Magazine

Playing with Fire

Posted on the 31 May 2011 by Thebangtoddowenwaldorf @BangLiving

Playing with Fire

I became one with the fire.  Dave and I walked down the hill in front of the caravan.  We walked around the loan set of kiwi trees and around to a pile of old branches and plant castings.  It the length of the caravan in size and nearly half in height.  Night was coming on us and we had just spent the day relaxing as it is Sunday and even the devil should find a moment of rest on Sunday.

Dave is older than I am.  He doesn’t look it though.  It is from using his hands and being on his feet through all of these years.  He is fit and you would not be able to guess his age.  He is a little hard on himself and doesn’t give his credit where it is due, but most Aussies are modest and humble so I just take an opportunity every time and again to remind him that he is in a good place.  He seems to appreciate that.  Dave used to work on those tawler boats that go and get the prawns that we eat in our favorite restaurants.  Oh and as Dave is quick to point out, in the States Australia has a famous one liner “Put another shrimp on the barbie.”  Lest Dave remind you, they are prawns in Australia.  Aussies don’t even use the word “shrimp”.

We lit the ends of the paper and the flame took to it with licks of blue before it took its familiar shade of yellow and orange.  We put the paper down around the pile.  As the pile lit afire Dave and I both stood motionless and silent.  The sun was setting now.  We were surrouned by a perimeter of eucalyptus trees that were over one hundred and fifty feet high.  As the sun lost its glow the trees were silouetted in a blue that was getting deeper and deeper.  I watched flames send up plumes of fire and ash.  The lit embers circled in the sky and made quick impressions on the silouetted trees before vanishing off.

Dave and I stood silent.  It was one of those moments when you stop and realise that you are sharing with someone and for some reason you are in sync.  It was like having a conversation without words standing there with Dave, just peering into the fire.  If thoughts could be seen than I’m sure the sky would be blindingly bright from our standing there.  The middle of the fire had created brilliantly bright pulsating pieces of ember.  As I watched them glowing brightly and then fading and then brightly and fading I thought it seemed the fire had taken a life of its own at some point.

As the fire went on Dave and I left it and escaped to our nightly ritual of one tea after another.  That night a storm would come.

The wind howled so loudly that it was frightening.  “This is normal because we are on the top of a mountain and that takes the strong wind gusts.”  I told myself in an attempt of reassurance that my caravan wasn’t going to topple down the hill.  As the wind howled the trees bent seemingly to their limits stretching their long and gangly arms across the night sky.  The moon was bright and on the mountain it makes a small trace of visibility because there is no artifical light for it to get lost.  As I lay in the caravan I looked up and out of the window over my head at the sky.  I do this nightly.  I like to watch the stars just before I close my eyes at the end of the day.  Tonight I was not at peace like on those other nights of smiling just before a star shot across the sky.  Tonight the sounds of falling branches would keep my senses on alert and I would have to find a peaceful sleep another night.

I woke up to hundreds of branches all over Sahyma’s Sanctuary.  I knew that she would want them cleaned up and so I just went to work turning the place back to what it was before the previous night of the howling wind.  I approached the fire pile with the first of a dozen wheel barrows full of dead branches.  The fire was dead.  I thought about the day of work before me and the tranquility of watching the fire the day prior.  The fire had continued to burn after Dave and I left it that night.  It burned in an irregular pattern and left some of the wet branches behind.  It would have to be burned again one day when it dried.  I knew I would be gone then.  I missed the fire but most things come to an end.

I tossed another barrow full of branches on to the pile.  A small trickle of white came from it.  It was a little bit of fading smoke that had held on through the nights storm and was still smoldering within the pile.  I smiled at it reminiscent of the inferno that Dave and I had created and sat watching.  I went up to gather another barrow and I was beyond the caravan now in a dark and wet cleared path under a canopy of trees.  There were a lot of branches here and as I gathered them I noticed a glow.  I turned my head and I saw a roaring blaze!  My face broke into a smile as I stood there alone as I do on the days while I work.  Suddenly my smile parted my lips and a laugh took over.  I felt like a friend had come to visit unexpectedly.  I really did feel like that.

I walked down and threw on more branches and then I went and go more branches to add.  The fire was thirsty and I had just the drink for it.  The night had knocked hundreds of branches from the tall eucalyptus trees that had to be picked up.  I spent the day with that fire feeding its hunger to stay alive.  Then it started to rain.  As most things seem to do, it came to an end.  I sat under the shed with the ute and I stayed out of the rain.  I was far away from the fire pile now and I wouldn’t see its final breaths.  When the rain went away I walked to the caravan and looked over at the pile.  It had no smoke.  It was dead.  I grabbed a pitchfork and I began tossing what was left in the pile.  I was making it compact so that when Dave burns it again in several weeks it will burn through.

That night I would write and in the pitch of the cool Australia night I saw something strange in the reflection of the caravan.  Now you have to remember, I am alone in this caravan and when you walk out at night there is nothing but the stars and the moon and yourself in an infinite void of blackness and all of the inhabitants of the night with it.  Out there some where in the darkness I saw something.  At least I thought I did, but when I turned to look for it it was gone.  I knew something was there a moment ago though.  I looked again and nothing then suddenly out of the corner of my eye there it was!  I turned my head and for an instant, just a brief fraction of time, a flame shot up from the darkness and waved its hand in the middle of the pitch and then just like that, it was gone and it was only darkness.

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