I AM THE FLAME
Flames leap, licking at me, touching me. There is discomfort as they reach out to scorch my skin, sizzle my hair. Moving back the warmth becomes a comfortable place. The quiet of the night envelopes me. I smell wood smoke and watch the curls of smoke, see the dancing of the flames. Green wood snaps and crackls. Damp grass sends up thick greenish gray smoke. Moving back still more I see the ashes rise and spread, drifting peacefully into the dark surround. A owl sits not far off observing us. Night sounds rise, crickets, cicada speak. A cougars soft step approaches. He daren’t come too close as the fire warns him back. I get up and walk away, thinking I am not needed here. I watch with disinterest as the fire burns outward, leaping heedless over the edge of the stones, consuming the grass, reaching for that dry stick a foot away. It spreads, it devours and I ask myself is this the way it should be behaving? What is my role here? Who began this blaze? Who is responsible, who is to blame? Should I step in and control this thing? What is the harm in letting these flames loose into the world? Will they harm anything? Everything? How big must it get before my efforts to change it go unheeded? I run up on the hill and I watch it from afar. A fire from afar is a beautiful thing, and it has power as it grows and again I feel its heat and I hear the crackle as it eats the fuel before it and I wonder at its force and I fear its abilities to destroy. And I ask myself. Should I call for help? Am I needed here? What part do I play in this dance of death? I see the owl take flight and the cougar leap away. I look around for a place to hide but there is no where to go. The fire has moved outward and around and I now stand in its center. I have become the flame.
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