its been a cold winter here in the mountains of western North Carolina. we rely on the fire in our woodstove to keep our home warm. waking up to a cold, dark morning last week, I gathered matches & kindling. our woodstove is in our bedroom, my daughter was there under quilts in my bed, still dreaming. littlest to less little, each twisted paper, twig, to log, grew in size as I arranged my pyramid carefully. the swishing sound & it's light breaking open the darkness, even the sulphur smell, I love how the striking of the match feeds my senses.
the paper began burning inside the stove. starting small & thin, the fire worked its way thru each material. until it was so strong, it tackled the large logs from our honorable old oak tree.
as the fire grew in intensity, the morning grew outside, completely taking over the nite that came before it. my daughter stirred in the bed until a dog joined her for a cuddle to put off the start of the day. in this first glow of what the day might be, I heard soft murmurs of snuggling delight. I slowly sipped my warming tea. and I sat admiring fire starting.
it is patient as it starts (with just a spark) and grows powerful & passionate. it creates a space to warm up, to be at home, when all that surrounds you may be cold & sterile. it demands a moment of respect, and of gratitude. it connects you to everyone who came before you who relied on building fires for survival.
and this is the power, the passion, and the reverence I believe we can bring to building shrines. and to living our lives.