Michelle J., my beautiful friend and partner in this project sent us this amazing guest post in response to my post awhile back about the waters of my life. So powerful are the elements that shape our lives, our habitats, and our world. They are the things we are made of. There are answers here if we just know where to look. Love you Shell, thank you for the reminder and for your wonderful words.
the fires of my life
by Michelle Johnsen
the “HOT” stove, don’t touch, where my mother cooked for us, baked family recipes like pumpkin pie and pineapple stuffing. where our birthday cakes fluffed and warmed, whatever kind we wanted.
the rusty, flat-topped heaters at blessed virgin mary school, where at recess we toasted our salty soft pretzels, where we charred the elbows of our starter jackets if we leaned too close for too long.
the tiny twig fires we lit in cemeteries, between gravestones, calling spirits at age 11, and the hot fear that they actually heard us.
diamond head in waikiki, the first volcano i ever walked on, extinct, or inactive, but deep beneath, hot lava leading to the molten core of earth.
bonfires in the forest, small, kindling lit in a roughly dug hole, a mound of earth waiting to extinguish them after the marshmallows were roasted.
the blazing summer sun that freckles my face like a kiss, year after year, reddens my arms and cheeks, warms me body and soul.
fireflies, the flames of my wild youth, lighting up the sticky summer nights, casting a glow on us as we chased them, and put them in a jar to glow next to our beds.
campfire, the source of heat and light and warm food on those starry, starry nights in the dark, quiet forest.
candles lit in memory, the hot wax hitting the pavement at vigils for friends known and unknown, lit for loss, for remembrance, for justice, for peace.
fracking flares, visible above the tree line, scorching chemicals released into the air, and my boiling anger, the searing rage that builds up behind my eyes and inside my chest when i see one.
the fiery, wild-beating, overflowing, blistering with passion, love-spilling heart of mine that thumps in rhythm with all the burning hearts that love me back.
fire, lend me your flames so that i may burn away the chains that bind us to consumerism, frenzied shopping,
burn the notion that we’re not responsible for each and every living or breathing thing, and everything to come after us;
let me blaze along the path to
rewilding, reconnection, rebellion, and regeneration
that earth has left for us,
for those who can still see it
and who will hold that flame high for others to see.