Although I am more airy than fiery I find myself increasingly drawn to fire and its properties. Having an open fire in my current home gives me the opportunity to rekindle my relationship with this core element. I enjoy the ritual of sweeping out the hearth in preparation for building a good fire.
I build with paper, kindling, small logs and firelighters, if there is resistance, letting heat build gradually, watching with patience and care as my grate becomes a small furnace.
The dark dankness of this January week has given me the impetus to focus on fire and on using it not just for warmth and comfort but also to stir deep memory while simultaneously burning away that which is past.
Tonight the fire burns with serious intensity. Remnants of Christmas crumble to ash and will go out tomorrow into a pile at the bottom of the garden in readiness for mixing in with compost for the garden later in the season.
Watching the glowing and splitting veins of coal I remember winter nights with my grandma, watching her fire burn low and imagining myself a creature of fire, able to walk through the crumbling walls of red and orange coal, a fire city full of fire people.
The flames and heat are reassuring to me. I can conjure my grandma’s face, her warm eyes, the coo of her Devonshire voice and all the furrows on my brow smooth, my heart eases and I feel safe.
The flames consume the last ghosts of Christmas along with pieces of the past year of which I need to be rid.
To the power of the fire I give up old hurts, wounds and worries and let the flames take it all. Fire is older and more powerful than me, before and after me and my time on this good green earth. I am grateful to the fire and as it burns itself out I breathe out into its heart and feel something dislodge from my heart and surrender itself. It feels peaceful and good.