Offering to the Fire

Photograph by Judy Chicago



An offering, a dedication, to continually breaking open, pausing at the reflection found at the end of a road, any road, spiraling into other, into sameness, into the unfolding of an uncertain map–the open palm, the spark, the ether and the soil. Leave something behind in this ritual of burning. You will leave everything behind. Belongings too heavy to carry become remnants, fragments lived and unlived, and your own belonging remains—to this earth, this body, this heart, each other. You will find freedom in touching nothingness, and find another you in the returning, moving through the pathless mountains, knowing lightness and burden, the giving up, the longing. The well of love is the other end of grief, filling nothingness with stories, and who would we be without them? Without someone to share them with, without someone to remind you how nothing lasts, but it lasts long enough to love. To keep letting go until nothing is left but the light that started it. You are the bright breath among blackened branches, reaching out to your own unseen hands, the ones that hold the stars, with eyes for the invisible. And you pull out your heart, again, and let it rest on a sunlit stone, warm and beating, poised for the next reckoning, or blessing, or silence. A heart who asks you only to be, who tells you it will be enough. You learn how to hold tightly for a time, because you don’t want to turn away from what you know while it becomes something else. Love will have you relinquish everything, at some point. Full bodied emptying before the filling, how fire moves from roots to trunk and exhales at the top, how lungs do in a clear-sky dream, when you take an inhale deep enough to turn green with hope. You will all push up through the wreckage and grow, and die, and be something important in between. It continues. And you are here for it, for a little bit. Lucky enough to be. Enough. You are the little seed who comes to life after the fire. All together on the hill, rising through the layered soil of memory, using it for rising, living, opening. An offering.



I rewrote this after the fires came and made a ring of fire through and around our town, altering our psyches and landscapes both wild and domestic… it sent us into an alchemy still revealing itself…

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