HomeThe Well-Lived LifeA child’s fire


Oh, the warmth of today was a symphony: sunlight drawing tree sap, crow talk, and the pines fluting the wind to whispers. Despite the fact that the frost-maker was wildly intoxicated this morning and dressed everything in his cold-delight of shimmer, I am certain that Winter’s back is broken. No matter if the snowstorms come, I must be on a lookout for blooming bloodroot, and perhaps this year I’ll find some skunk cabbage.

In the lull of late afternoon, Renee and I went down to the hemlock grove to soak up some Green Mother energy. We had decided to build a little fire, which was enthralling for her, and since her brother was at a playdate, she could tend to the fire all by herself, which gave her even more satisfaction.

“Let me put my thumb on the lighter,” she said in as best a commanding tone as she could muster, “and you put your thumb over me.”

“No, darlin, that’s too dangerous, I don’t want you to get burned,” I gently answer.

We had gathered a few dry leaves out from the edge of the circle, and then some smaller twigs, and topped it all with some windfallen hemlock branches with now-yellowing needles. I was ready to light it, when she piped up with another idea.

“I’ll put my thumb on top of yours!” she sings as she looks at me, nodding me into agreement, her eyes locked onto mine as she casts the beautiful-child-spell over me.

It works. “Okay! That’s a great idea!” I reply, and so she presses her little thumb on top of mine, stooping under me as we lean together towards our little pile of tinder. With a stroke of our spooning thumbs the miracle of fire crackles into festivity before us. Then she picks up her turkey feather, left from a previous outing, and begins to send tiny puffs of air to our little flames.

This was the richest moment of my day, and I am ashamed because I know I was not truly present for this moment. My mind was filled with desire to accomplish something, anything to give myself a feeling of importance. I did not relax. I did not fully engage myself in the pixie-delight of my daughter. And perhaps if I had suspended the incessant demands I place on myself I could have just been there with her, I could have laid my backbone to the Green Mother and been replenished deeply. I could have rested, and received invisible and much-needed nourishment.

Tomorrow I shall try again.


A child’s fire — 4 Comments

  1. Re: lovely….

    Thanks, Kathryn. I’m so glad to know that someone is reading my blog, and especially pleased that you like it. I really enjoyed the interview with your brother yesterday, and tried to leave a comment, but msn gave me such a headache over it all that I just gave up and fixed a delicious dinner instead. Unfortunately, I am the only one that thought it was delicious, so I’ve had it for breakfast, and lunch today.

  2. ooooooh i like this one. nice alliterations and details. and in order to write about the moment that well, certainly you were present. how could you not be? now i’d say you’re on the right track – notice that there are demands you’re putting on yourself that infringe on these types of experiences. but no scolding! your last line puts it best – “tomorrow i shall try again.”

  3. Oh thank you Katey. And today was the most incredible day! I think it’s all because of this blogging, honestly. It’s like a thread I can weave from one day to the next that helps me keep focus on my healing path. What’s funny is that as wonderful as today was (truly a rare day of abiding inner peace), it was quite difficult to find the words for it. Perhaps it begs a poem. Or perhaps I’ll just let it be what it was, and write again tomorrow! It’s always good to hear from you!

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