ONCE , LONG BEFORE MOST FOLK CAN REMEMBER, I was keeper of the fire. The people depended on me; they knew I understood the secrets of turning last night’s grey ashes back to burning flame…..but even I had to sleep for a little while at least.
Yet even in sleep I dreamed. I dreamed the dreams the auld ones told me. They held the secrets of fire, passed from the oldest Grandsire of my lineage, down and down through years beyond counting, they held the secret close. So simple to the initiated; all fire wanted was company, the slow burning flame of passion. Passion for fire. So so simple for the ones who knew.

And all these senses were a living knowing thing, a skill as easy as breathing. For me, and the young ones growing who came to sit and stare all the long cold nights and days, intoxicated by the flames, hypnotised, seeking visions. I taught the oldest, who taught the next in line, right on through to the small babies, their eyes alight with flames. Each had a task to fulfil in their training.
Each had to know how an unwatched fire left lonely, could turn against the people, become a raging, roaring fury….a monster. A fire untended became surly and uncooperative, difficult to relight…..or, forgotten by laziness, a greedy, ravening thing, eating up the plains we hunted on, boiling the rivers to dead dry sand, destroying the forests, burning all the trees, the wood we needed, the wood we depended on for fire.

Ignorant, untaught, many people laughed at my warnings “She’s crazy,” I heard them say, laughing quietly behind their hands as they sneaked away under the cover of early morning business, to run and play. But fire is hungry, needs company….and while I live, I will give it what it wants….for I have the secret of fire deep within me….I am the kindling that feeds the flame.

MargaretArlen ©️ Winter 2019

Thanks to Gracie Rose for Fire Photo