Journal 11/16/18- Lighting the Fire
I slashed the metal against the flint for what seemed like the ten millionth time. A single bead of sweat dripped down my nose and paused just long enough to catch a ray of sunshine before dropping onto my feeble pile. Spark, smoke, hope…. spark, smoke, hope….. for an hour now. I simply couldn’t tease a fire out of thin air. My hands were cramping from holding the flint and the tiny metal razor of my survival bracelet was cutting into my fingers. Another droplet, running down my cheek this time. Something had gotten lost somewhere, something that felt vital to my very existence, something that linked me to the thousands of generations that came before me. And thus it began.
I can straighten my hair and do a smoky eye. I can crosstitch a complex pattern, set a table properly and dance the Waltz. I can play Moonlight Sonata on a piano … and the cello. I can make a sour cream pound cake that will knock your socks off and I can simultaneously operate multiple entrepreneurial endeavors at once (though how well is, I suppose, debatable). I have a Bachelor’s degree in Preschool/ Primary/Elementary Education with a Science add-on and a Master’s Degree in Human Movement and Corrective Modalities.
In other words, I am capable. Every one of those things listed above is more complex than making a fire. Yet, I could not. I still could not when I tried a match. Nor could I pull the elusive fire out of hiding when, in utter frustration, I went and got a household flamethrower.
Fire. The very thing that separates Humans from other animals refused me my own sliver of humanity.
I didn’t ever spark a fire that day, but I did light a torch in my soul. In reality, the kindling for that internal flame had been carefully placed by the fates over the years. A giant trash pile, 38 years old, just waiting for everything to align perfectly. This was that day.
I am hungry for something that feels very visceral. This has been the year of a deeper connection. Some pulse that beats universally is ringing in my ears. LOUD. CLEAR. I believe it beats through the core of every human but the “noise” is just so loud that many are deaf to the beat. So many of us are just a reverberation of what we always have been. We do what we've always done and live in the comfort of what we've always known. Our thoughts and beliefs are simply echoed back to us by someone with the same perspective, upbringing, status, religion, and generally similar political standings. These echoes bounce back and refill the space that they left- a little duller, a bit more grey version of the original. Echo after Echo refills the space. There's no need to ever dig deeper or find what's under that first layer because it keeps coming back anyways.
I’m trying to peel back those layers and dig deeper this year. I picked up my bow and arrows for the first time in nearly 20 yrs. It felt good. I sat in a tree stand, alone, for the first time. It felt primal. I took apart my kids’ broken John Deere Tractor hand-me-down and completely replaced all the components. It felt empowering. I’ve created routines that take me and my family into outdoor spaces regularly. It feels right. I made fire. It felt magical. I made fire with a flint. I felt unstoppable!
Our Family is moving in a different direction these days. I don’t know exactly where we are going. I’m finding value in different priorities. My children are flourishing with these changes. Super Mark and I are, too. We are questioning our current norms and wondering whether we want to honor them in the future. We are seeking opportunities to get uncomfortable and embracing failures as we grasp the last thin threads of an ancient knowledge, all while living in a modern world.
** If you live locally, Nature School has been a huge part of the deal for our family.