Even though we only had one full month this year that we didn't build a fire, I forgot some things about tending one. The weather is chilly cool and rainy, the tamaracs are a painting on the mountainsides and there's a nice white-tail buck stalking the woods surrounding the house. The black bear seems to have moved on and wood must be fed in a consistent manner to keep the house toasty warm. A consistent manner - hour by hour, day by day.
No, that's not my fire pit, not my gorgeous cast iron dutch oven, but I'd love to cook that way sometime. I fancy myself green witch drawn to cauldrons full of critical ingredients - onions, garlic, potatoes, venison, parsnip, yam, ginger and peppers. And maybe the occasional eye of newt. I sprinkle some leftover or borrowed hope, a glimmer of faith, a forgotten belief in something. My own cast iron skillet goes in the oven to be retrieved an hour or so later with food medicinal in nature, glorious in taste. I feed the fire.
I know I've been silent here for awhile but it was necessary. The inner fires have been raging and have required their own consistent tending. They have left me wrung out, exhausted and mad. I temporarily lost interest in much of anything except my sobriety and getting through the day. It's entirely discomforting to suddenly turn scarlet with flush, break out into an entire body sweat that feels like it's literally steaming out the top of one's head while trying to speak with a customer or a friend or the cat for gods sake. Mini-kundalini volcanoes. I'm reading Derrick Jensen and the words reach me in a deep place that takes time to assimilate: the truth harsh and cold. I have to take breaks from the book, but I'm compelled to continue reading each time I pause and I steel myself and open the pages - telling myself I can keep it at an emotional distance, I can keep from going into the dark place, telling myself it's necessary, it's part of becoming aware. I read chapters aloud to Brent and he hangs on every word. We feed the fire.
I have continued following the Gulf Coast and there continues to be excellent work done there, although don't for a minute think BP or our government have much of anything to do with that - except getting us there in the first place. National Geographic did a cover story, which mostly bored me to tears and the spill has been in the national news again, but the reports come with no real stories of assistance where it's needed most. They do not engage me the way Drew Wheelan with the American Birding Assocation and the bloggers at the Gulf Restoration Network continue to do. These grassroots activists are my heroes and there are pockets of them all over the globe. A friend in South Africa works to slow the same type of destruction to her Delta knowing that it's late late late in the game. We feed the fire.
We can all see what's happening here, can't we? The story will continue to die down as more and more of these disasters take place. I haven't heard much about the Red Sludge lately. They've built a wall, people are returning to their homes. But there's lead in that stuff and it's radioactive and the ground is a sponge. And it's happening in a thousand different ways in a thousand different places that we never hear about and never will.
We must see that any real answers will not come from the established order. Pluto cojunct Ceres asks us to revolutionize our relationship with the food we eat. To offer it respect and good soil, clear sunshine and pristine water. To thank it for the life it gives, whether animal, vegetable or mineral, and to offer something back. The deer are abundant here and their meat is healthy, lean and good. I will let one choose me and honor our pact from the moment I take the shot to the last savory bite. My willingness to participate so intimately with my food is surprising still to me. It is changing me. It is making me better. I don't like the task especially, don't enjoy killing in any way except that that's the way it feels it should be - if I want the meat (and I do) and I intend to eat it (the only reason to hunt in my opinion), I should at least bless it for myelf and recieve the animal's blessing. I'm almost certain it changes the food, making it a bit more nutritious, a bit more delicious, allowing a healing alchemy to take place in the cells. Our plant and animal siblings help feed the fire.
I'd love to hear how you're feeding the fire.