Living in a spacious canvas tent along the Central Coast, I stoke a fire in my stove on chilly nights. I'm burning the fallen branches of my Live Oak neighbors and, as those of you who have spent a lot of time visiting the same sit spot know, these plant neighbors gradually are known as individuals and eventually as friends.
So, fire is pieces of friends giving off their life energy. And that's just as beautiful and terrible as it seems. At best, it's a gift gratefully received.
Most people don't think about things this way because our world is run on that life energy, including everything that uses oil or gasoline or electricity, and acknowledging the source of that life energy as friends gets in the way of our usury. It's much easier to talk about life energy as a "resource". But this term "life energy" is accurate. It's the energy that was stored via the life of a living someone. It is what it is.
So I strive to collect branches with an understanding of the miraculous journey of light photons traveling 93 millions miles from the Sun to combine with CO2 and water to create sugar and cellulose. I strive to see the trees as people who grow and reach and are broken during hard times and heal and are connected to an entire forest, a community. And I strive to receive the final gift of light and heat of friends transforming into ash with the utmost gratitude.
Want to learn more about our relationship with fire? Join us this February for our Art of Fire Class.