Another step is being taken today in my journey to learn how to dance between the light and the dark of my life. We will be having our first bonfire of the year tonight at Avalon. Normally, at this point in the year we would have had at least 3-4 bonfires already. The solstices and equinoxes have almost always been celebrated with a bonfire and wonderful hanging with folks at Avalon. These fires are a time of celebration, relaxing, letting go of our tensions and worries, laughing a lot, and simply relishing being in the moment. Tonight we hope to do all of these and begin the process of shifting the energy at the farm and within ourselves. I am seeking, at least for tonight, to bask in the glow of the fire and dance in the light.
For many, many years at Avalon the Spring Equinox has been the time of celebrating surviving winter and enjoying the first fire of the year. That had been the plan this year as well, until Russell and I stepped into a rabbit hole and ended up in Cuckoo Luckoo Land. Not only could a fire not happen to celebrate the beginning of spring, the kids and I simply couldn’t handle the thought of one at Summer Solstice either. The very thought of it almost caused us to scream “No, not yet!”
For you see, Russell has always been the Fire Master of Avalon and usually for our family gatherings at home too. I love fires but Russell LOVED fires, finding great joy and pride in building big, beautiful fires. It was like watching an artist paint a great work of art when watching Russell with his fires. Oh, it could get a little scary watching him at times as he liked to “dance” as close as he could to the fire, moving branches around, stirring the embers, making it just right. He would spend hours and hours and hours playing with the fire. And I believe some of the greatest conversations he had with folks at Avalon occurred around a fire.
The weekend after Russell died Avalon’s community gave me (and all of Avalon) a great gift in doing a massive spring cleaning, de-cluttering, and beautifying of the farm. In the midst of the cleaning someone found Russell’s fire tending stick. Before it could be thrown on the to burn pile, someone (I think it was John Wottowa) said “NO, don’t throw it out! That was Russell’s fire stick.” That stick was made into a beautiful memorial for Russell that hangs outside of my office in the entryway of Avalon. It reads “May his fire burn eternally.” Every time I see it throughout my days I smile and think of Russell and his joy for playing with fire.
My journey to find just the right, new fire tending stick this morning was one I am deeply grateful for and reminded me how much I love walking the land of Avalon. I walked into the wooded area of Avalon that we call the Small Trail. Rue and Hinata gladly went with me staying close by as I explored and searched for just the right stick. Hearing the birds singing, feeling the strong breeze blowing my hair, seeing the light streaming through the trees, listening to my favorite songs I’ve saved onto my phone, all of these filled me with quiet gratitude for being in this time, this moment. We wandered for quite a while checking out stick after stick, waiting for just the right one. And then, as Sam Smith’s song “Stay with Me” started playing on my phone, I found what I had been looking for – a strong stick capable of handling moving logs around in a fire, green enough to not burn up at the first hint of heat, and long enough for me to reach the fire without burning my face off. The magic of finding this stick while this particular song played was very special. For you see, this was the song I played over and over and over again when I would sit alone with Russell in the hospital. It was as if Russell was with me in finding my Fire stick and helping guide me to the torch he could pass to me. A wonderful moment of feeling the continued connection and knowing I am not alone.
I dragged my stick back, cut off the extra length to make it just the right size for me and decided to paint it to make it my own. Of course the chakra/rainbow colors are what I chose to paint. I had great fun painting and thinking of hanging with folks in front of a fire tonight. As I painted it felt more like I was decorating a Power Stick than just a fire tending stick. It feels like a reclaiming of something deep within me is occurring. And my heart is singing as I feel more excitement about having a fire tonight, instead of just being sad that it is the first fire without Russell. He would be so very, very pleased that we are doing this tonight.
So tonight we will have a fire at Avalon. This fire is to celebrate the Fall Equinox as we have always done. This fire is to celebrate Russell as I couldn’t do on his birthday due to the emergency surgery for Kateri’s horse. This fire is to honor and mark the 6 month anniversary of Russell’s death we face tomorrow, a large milestone my kids and I set as a marker for ourselves in our healing journey. This fire is to give myself and others a chance to write out the things we need to let go of and burn them in a fire. This fire is a chance to celebrate all of the things we are grateful and that can bring us joy. This fire is a chance to gather and begin to see who will now emerge as the new fire master/tender of Avalon. This fire is a chance for me to take another step in the dance I am learning to move in as I play with the fire tonight, remembering my partner and the joy he had for the simple things in life. The fire is a chance for me and my kids to take another step forward into powerful knowing we can heal and find joy again. The fire is a chance to PLAY and BE deeply in the moment of NOW! This fire is a chance to dance with the light and the dark and be grateful for it all!