Burn, baby, burn

I.  Stoking the wood stove hour after hour comforts me.  The repetition feels soothing, logs clinking upon logs, flame burning, heat rising.

II. Writing sentence after sentence burns the same way inside me.  Joy builds with each unexpected word.  Delight tingles when two opposing ideas reconcile. I am stunned silent before the power of words, and always grateful for this craft, this stoking, this amazing possibility of tinder and flame.

Stump, maul

Stump, maul

III.  Photography takes my spirit by surprise.  I never think about taking pictures.  Days and weeks and sometimes months pass without interest in capturing sight, curve, flash, energy.  Photography inhabits my body sometimes, takes over, grabs the camera, insists upon expression.  It’s not me.  I’m its servant.  When it lights its match, I’m putty in its power.  People glimpse me with a camera in hand and think its me.  They see joy and think its mine.  They don’t know I’m simply the log burning itself to ash in those moments.

IV.  Another hour, another log.  Burn, my child, burn.  You’re not losing anything.  We’re gaining your precious heat.

Snow woman

Snow woman

V.  Have you discovered your inner monk, your inner hermit, the one who wants to live alone and worship the divine as it appears now, now, now?  In a former life (only remembered in flashes of dreams, in glimpses of brown robes) I prayed without ceasing.  God stoked my fire.  He kindled the logs of devotion.  Today I stoke the divine, prayers of firewood tumbling out of these lips:  please, thank you, please, thank you…

VI.  Have you discovered the part of yourself which won’t burn to ash without sharing your precious gifts?  You won’t die, I swear you won’t die, until you’ve given up resin and root, branches and leaves, and every lasting bit of your sweet sap rising toward the heavens.  Burn, baby, burn.

Inside our wood stove

Inside our wood stove

VII.  How to start the fire under you?  Sizzle match against dream, kindling against desire.  Where else can we start except by longing?  We need heat in winter or we shall die.  Our hearts shall freeze solid.  Even Valentines Day won’t melt us.  Therefore, be not afraid of your longing.  Be not afraid of your desire.  Even if you’re 92 years old and running from death’s doorstep, it’s not too late to light a match to that longing and discover its eternal flame.

VIII.  Talk to yourself.  Every time you throw a log on the fire, ask your longing what it wants.  Don’t take it literally, although you’ll be tempted. Ask sixteen thousand times, in sixteen thousand ways.  Find out how you’re afraid to burn your fingers, how ashes multiply, how sparks scatter so quickly, only seeming to destroy precious dreams. (Here’s a secret, dear fire tender:  it’s not the fulfillment of your dreams and expectations that matter.  It’s that you CAN dream!  It’s not whether our dreams come true. It’s our spark, that very first flame, that can never be extinguished.  Follow the flame to the beginning again and again and again.  That’s where you’ll find what you’ve been searching for in the heat of your fire.)

Chainsaw.  Firewood.

Chainsaw. Firewood.

IX.  Speaking of ashes, just because they excrete from the burning fire, they’re not bad.  They just are.  Just like you simply are.  Use the ashes of yourself.  When your driveway is slippery, they’ll keep you from falling. Nothing in life is useless.  What compost exists in every burning!

X.  The wood stove calls me down the spiral staircase of life once again.  The wood room sings its growing-empty song, the song we know means lugging in more logs.  Outside, the logs sing of springtime and wood splitters.  I almost smell wood shavings.  Chipmunks will scurry in the logs come spring and so shall we.  The cycle of life turns.  Burn well, my friends, and heat us all with your precious spirit.  There is only one log of you.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in February 2014 and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Burn, baby, burn

  1. Elisa says:

    I like it oh so much and I do not like it at alllll. That twirling whirling lamenting wail of inferno in there as I creak and I crack and I fall to bits. Oh that’s another voice isn’t it.

  2. Brenda Hardie says:

    Good Morning Kathy,
    Thank you for this post!! You said something up there that caught my breath–“Here’s a secret, dear fire tender: it’s not the fulfillment of your dreams and expectations that matter. It’s that you CAN dream! It’s not whether our dreams come true. It’s our spark, that very first flame, that can never be extinguished.”—in particular the sentence “It’s not whether our dreams come true.”. This is where I have gotten lost and where I feel so alone. I kept thinking that because my dreams cannot be fulfilled, then they are broken and forever lost. But you have shed new light on this thought and it gives me hope and a sense of joy. I’ll have to pray and think on this idea so it can sink deep in my soul. Perhaps, it will open a new pathway for me that I could not see before. Thank you for this beautiful gift ♥

    • Heather says:

      This is the very part that struck me most as well. Sometimes it’s important to remember that dreams don’t have to come true. They can guide us and then change and that’s okay. Burn well, my friend 🙂

  3. Fountainpen says:

    The open door to fire in your stove reminded me of the
    time I lit a fire in a stove much like yours and sat and watched
    it from the time I lit the first tiny piece of wood to start the fire
    to the moment when the last burning ash extinguished itself.

    It is an awesome memory. I was in a hermitage in a woods
    for six months…..it was sacred time.

  4. you write beautifully–I enjoy it so much–there is a lilt to your writing

  5. Hope you are burning well, also, my friends. Sounds like you are. Oh, how I wish we have a stove like yours.

    Sorry to have been away for a few days. Hope I haven’t missed too much. I’ve been busy finishing another chapter of my mafia memoir to read at a literary event here in Cuenca Thursday night.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

  6. There are many things that take our spirit. When I sit to write or create a piece of jewelry, everything seems at a distance. I still hear the sounds and feel the road, but I am in another world. Thank you for posting this. I have always loved reading your posts and admiring your pictures.

  7. penpusherpen says:

    Fire can cleanse and can also destroy, So many ways to look at that roaring element, Kathy, loved your counting details above, and yes, never be afraid of that burning feeling inside you. Inspiration has many faces, (just as the many faces you see in a natural fires flame) and the longing and need to write, take photo’s and share our views with others spreads like wildfire through blogland. Many thanks for sharing your warmth, so’s I could warm my hands and type. 🙂 xPenx

  8. What an amazing comparison…..you are so right! Feeling that spark and then the flame. Nothing can compare.

  9. You really are profound today. Dang those ashes. They became too much for me along with the constant carrying of logs to the fireplace. I don’t know about inner burning unless it’s the one in the pit of my stomach caused by acid reflux. 🙂 So yes, I reckon I’ve had that inner flame many times that only a Nexum will relieve. 🙂

    Kathy, I am joking with you again. Sort of! 🙂 Seriously this is good writing. We should all be so talented.

    Oh yes. I did recycle our ashes to the compost pile and added to the litter boxes. Absorbs odors too. Wonders never cease.

    ~yvonne – just a reminder! 🙂

  10. OK, my deep thought on the subject of fire. Mankind has supposedly mastered fire, yet it still holds this strange power to mesmerize and even hypnotize us.

  11. john says:

    Thank you for your words, your art, your soul …

  12. Susan D says:

    Beyond beautiful … wow. Thank you!

  13. Robin says:

    I don’t know what to say. Thank you. 🙂

  14. lisaspiral says:

    I love the days when I tend the fire. It is both relaxing and rewarding in it’s own special way. I haven’t been able too recently because I’ve been so “on the go”. Next time though I may take this little meditation to heart. Thank you. Burn baby burn.

  15. sybil says:

    I love lighting a fire and watching the logs catch but my daughter says I have to wait till we get a stove before I try to do it again !

    Just call me “Sparky”

  16. Bonnie says:

    Another beautiful post, words of wisdom and encouragement, words and thoughts to mull over and to set the spark off in the thoughts of your readers, or at least this reader. Thank you Kathy. Thank you!

  17. Kathy – I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post this morning. I’m a day late as Len had oral surgery yesterday and my attention’s been elsewhere. Reading this post brought to mind a quote from one of my all-time favorite authors:

    “A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.” ― Madeleine L’Engle

  18. Karma says:

    Wonderful metaphors for life today. I was listening to the song “100 Years” by Five for Fighting the other day. Are you familiar with it? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2WGGNiC8f4 I was having similar thoughts to yours when I heard it.

  19. What a wonderful metaphor. I try to keep my ‘woodstove’ stoked constantly. I try to realize that it’s not the completion of the dream that counts, it’s the dreaming. Stoke. Stoke. I hope to always heat up the lives of those around me, with all of my stoking, and to keep my creativity burning eternally.
    Just as you do, my friend.

  20. Stacy says:

    Poetic words, Kathy. Words from your poetic soul that resonate – just like the heat from the flame – and warm other souls. ❤

  21. “I’m simply the log burning itself to ash in those moments.”

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing that spark.

  22. Kathy says:

    I so very much appreciate all of you who paused to comment. Thank you for enjoying this…and know that I honor the life-spark in each and every one of you.

  23. There have been far too many times lately, when I’ve needed a fire under my butt to get me up and doing what needs to be done! There’s never a match when I need one. lol

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