The Mighty Viking

Conquering those things we must, one story at a time

Once in a Blue Moon

The moon tonight blazes, with an icy light so bright that the clouds trying to obscure her cannot filter her out. They glow as one misty pool with a cold gray-bluish frost. The celestial veil insinuates mysteries and unseen things. It whispers so loudly with its light that I feel I can almost understand, almost. I wonder.

In this glowing night, I wonder…

I can hear the wind in the distance, coming over the Butte, down it’s southern slope through the woods towards me. The Pines around me begin whispering excitedly about the coming rain. They can smell it in the wind. I can smell it too, now, and the first half-frozen tic-tac-tic-tac of tiny droplets begin to pelt me with all their Lilliputian might. The dogs on either side look up to me as if to say, “Are you getting all this?”. I tell them to be patient, the real storm won’t be here for some hours yet. But they persist. Am I really paying attention?

I am.

Indeed I am. As the night whispers above me, I reach forward with my stirring-stick and move a branch strategically in the fire. Dark red flames flare up into bright yellow for a moment, as if they’d been waiting for a door to be opened, and to fill the void created by the shifting branch. As quickly as they spring to life, they die back to give way to the red heat. The coals go back to their quiet, intense work of reducing these logs to nothingness. This modest campfire has plenty of heat, but makes little light. It sings and sizzles, answering the wind in the trees with a natural harmony. Low flames lick in a spiral around a pair of damp logs on top of the fire, sending up a plume of steam.

The steaming fire-cloud swirls and spirals upward, and in forty feet takes on the same blue glow as the clouds blowing in from the North. It pirouettes gracefully into a silky dance of transcendent dissolution, letting go of its briefly held shape and form. At some indistinguishable moment, it passes beyond the knowing of Self and Other. It has joined with its Great Cousins from the sea. I bid my tiny steam plume farewell with a fittingly absent stare, losing my own self to the endless internal tunnels of thought that happen by firelight.

Time makes no sense in this reverie. There is no past, no future. Even the present moment loses its dominion over the dialogue. The sky’s ghostly incandescence seeps into everything but the fire itself, and my attention is drawn in through its draught into the quiet, furious activity of the red embers. My awareness of self is suspended, to honor this Passing On of the wood’s essence through fire. From smoke and mist, into that place of nothing where Other is absorbed, created anew, and born again into the physical world. I find myself saying goodbye with a subtle, human wistfulness that I cannot help, despite myself. Letting go slowly, I sit for a moment and steep in the melancholy vanity of lost permanence.

And then, the longing to remain is gone as I become aware that someday I too will be dissolved out of time and place, and then recreated. Vanity releases it’s demand for permanence, replaced with the hope that I can pirouette as gracefully as this chopped up tree’s steam plume, into the time of my own passing. My soul rests patiently, idly speculating on that fate over which I have little control, to know what comes next, to be dissolved into the Whole and to be recreated.

And so I am repaired for this evening. Vanity is calmed, my body is comforted, and my soul is shown a mystery. It feels right to be here, where Place and Time stand exposed for their true selves. They are diminished. No longer dominating giants, they aren’t so intimidating. They are no gods, demanding of me whatever they will. They are merely companions, Subjects to the same God as I am.

I am not alone. I am surrounded by equals. There is only God and Creation.

 

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