This one was just for me, and it was epic.

IMG_2821Last week was all about everyone else. There was a birthday party to prepare for (my step-daughter’s 19th) and family in from out of town. There was stuff with one of my kids – big stuff that is still unresolved! There’s big stuff with another one of my kids – not as bat shit inducing, but still big. There were all the feels about beginning the process of reclaiming my former home out from under a year of neglect. There were all the feels about what it will mean when we move back into together (slowly, slowly, slowly). There was my own work and needing to show up for that despite feeling like I needed to find a cave somewhere to hide out in for a few years.

So, on Monday, I begged off my evening plans with the Manfingy and I opted to relish my solitude.

Not just relish it. Mark it as territory, as sacred.

I will fail to express how epic this was, but dudes. It was epic.

I built myself a fire.

I know. It sounds so simple. It’s so not a big deal, right? Except that in all the years I’ve lived, I’ve never built a fire *just for me*. I have always needed to justify the indulgence of a crackling fire by including other people. Otherwise, a fire was a ‘waste of wood’ because, apparently, I am not worthy of the time or effort. Building a fire was up there with busting out the fine china and linens. It was reserved, in my own unspoken rule book, for special occasions involving other people *only*.

Picture this:

I’m exhausted. The week completely depleted me. I don’t want to talk to another living being for a hundred years. I am spent. The night is coming on strong. There is a chill in the air that carries autumnal promise. I have options that include Aimlessly Surfing The Internet and Six Hours Of Netflix. I could art. I could do the dishes and the laundry.

A little voice inside my head said “I wanna fire”. Fire as a thing, and also fire as a verb as art is a verb in my lexicon. I don’t just ‘have’ a fire. I *fire*. Prepare it, light it, tend it. I love to fire.

But an insidious voice responded, as it always has, “What a waste of wood.”

And you know? I have always listened to that voice. I have always shrugged and said “Yeah, I guess so…” and abandoned my desire to fire and wandered off to do other, far less satisfying things.

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Monday night, though? I stamped my foot. I said “EXCUSE ME? I am NOT a waste of wood!” and I spent a good half hour and at least a dozen matches trying to get a fire going with damp wood and too little kindling. I almost gave up, but dudes.

It took, and I took it, and we burned long into the wee hours together, that fire and I, through wind and rain and the voices in my head that said I should not use all the wood, I should save some, I should wait until I had company, I should go to bed.

That fire was the best fire I’ve ever had.

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You think of these things,
candle,
smudge bowl,
the fire
you think
you might like to tend
by yourself,
for yourself,

As some kind of tragedy,

As though your hand,
striking the match,
your eyes,
your own senses,
are not enough.

And then a night comes on
as strong as nights do
when the earth turns toward autumn
and you stamp your foot against the damp earth
and say to the dew soaked gloaming

‘The mist is as much mine
to bear
as anyone’s,
and so is mine
the power to banish it
with match,
and candle,
and light, and heat.

So, there.’

You strike the match
and maybe it takes a while,
and maybe it takes
a hundred matches,
but you take
that night
in your hands,
and for once,

you make it
your own.

 In Other News

These classes are open for registration. It would be grand to see you in either of them. <3

radianttogether300

16 guest teachers, 32 lessons, art journaling immersion – starts October 1st. $99

bod2015v3

Six weeks of FACES. Members only (all you have to do is join my NING). Pay What You Can. Starts September 4th.

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