Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Burning Man

Those who went before us were wise...especially about things outside the realm of the every day.

They knew the power of fire, and they never hesitated to use it. Its force is something I believe we tend not to think about too much in these days of other powers - like those that drive cell phones and computers, TVs and radios.

But when it comes down to dealing with evil, fire trumps all.

Many in life are lucky and pass their days without exposure to resident evil. Those who haven't encountered it may not truly understand its slyness. Evil's stalking grounds are more commonly the banal of everyday life: the chance encounter in a coffee shop, or a new colleague at work who seems really quite charming, until the mask is lifted. It excels at catching the unsuspecting off-guard, because while it is the expected companion of heinous crimes against individuals and against humanity, it is not expected to sit down at the dinner table in a quaint little restaurant. Sometimes resident evil is initially confused with abnormality, or a social or emotional dysfunction, possibly because it is pretty hard to get one's head around the fact that there truly does exist pure evil, even in neon-lit, box store-rich Squarebanks. And it's not always wielding an axe or a gun or some other very obvious and tangible instrument of evil.

For too long I left things in my house, stashed under my bed of all places, that carried the stink and contamination of the resident evil that had found purchase at one point in my life. Although these items had lain dormant all of that time, recently they came to life.

It was time to purify; throwing them out was insufficient, they were covered with the slimy slug trail evil leaves in its wake. Fire was the only route to protection.

Sure, burning at solstice is a cliche. But those ancients dealt a lot more with unseen forces than we think we do in this oh so modern and brightly lit time. Although often I think I would have preferred to give the whole experience a miss, most times I am grateful for what happened. Not only did I come out of it much stronger, but I gained awareness of the spirits and forces that are very much alive and cruising in our world. When science became a religion in the 20th century, its gospel of rational thought brought to us a dangerous myopia. It diminishes our abilities to discern that there is so much more walking these lands than what can be tidily explained by science.

It was a darn good fire, one of the best and the brightest I have ever tended.

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