In the first times, Fire had a dream, but when the night came it faded. Without form for his dream, fire pouted. He sunk down to lowest spark, and there felt the tug of Earth: the older sister, silent and unmoving. Fire hadn’t paid much attention to Earth before. Always sweeping off to the next adventure, Fire usually moved over Earth without observing her solid shape. But down close to her now, he felt a certain power.
“Dream needs Earth to live,” thought Fire, and he hatched his plan.
When Earth was sleeping – which was most of the time – he would let his billion little sparks down into the smallest parts of her, the cells. Then lit with his light and energy, solid bits of Earth would rise.
And so it was that fire fell into earth and out of it rose fern and fish, bird and beast. One night a beast learned to dream and in the morning felt the memory of it tingle in her hands. On that day, when fire, earth, and dream were mixed, she stepped into her human being.
Above a Winter Solstice bonfire burns at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo by John Laux.
Learn More: This little tale flows from the understanding of cells that I gleaned from Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. The science might not be totally up-to-date, but her ability to inspire awe in natural processes is timeless.
- How do you listen to your dreams? What do they inspire? How do – or might – you make them real?
- What might be the source of your dreams? (Perhaps you might tell a fantastical tale about their source just for fun.)
- What might the Earth be dreaming through you at this time? (This is a question ask by ecotheologian Thomas Berry.)
Contemplative Practice: Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Let a part of your body call you attention (your stomach or your left thumb, any part at all). Breathe in slowly and deeply and imagine that this breath is feeding all the little fires of your cells there. Spend some time doing this. Then open yourself to a message from this part of your body about action to take in the world. Let whatever comes, come. It might be a direct message or not. The inspiration might come later. But if/when you get a message, take an action to follow up.
Nature Awareness: Watch flames dance. You could do this with a candle, but if you have a chance to (safely) build or attend a bonfire, that let’s you experience fire outside and in a bigger way.