I opened the door this morning and stepped from my home into a pre-dawn darkness that surprised me. Rain, sweet rain, fell on my cheeks as I turned my face toward the sky. With our mere six inches of annual rainfall, I never grow tired of waking to this feeling of freshness.
It has been a while since I have had such a peaceful start to my day. Breakfast at the table with my children, playful rituals with Samuel and then, empty quietness. I sat with my to-do list, wondering where to begin when it came to me: I wanted, more than anything else, to build a fire.
I wanted a fire to bring warmth to my home in a way only a fire can do, especially a fire that smells like wood rather than a “made in a factory” product.
I started small: with a lavendar-cedarwood candle. Cedar is a smell that brings my soul to rest almost instantly. I sat with my candle and quietly worked, a rather like Mona Lisa smile ever present on my lips.
I checked off my first “to-do” so quickly it was almost startling. I knew the fire was calling.
My fire-making supplies were piled and waiting for me to begin. I checked my local air-quality website and saw it was, in fact, a day which was suitable for burning. I assembled the wood and lit a match. Rainer whimpered, the sweet puppy wasn’t used to having fires – I hadn’t burned one since he came to our home.
I pulled the purple arm chair close to the fire with my camera and my notebook in my hands. I breathed without writing, without clicking, I leaned back into the down supports and breathed, deeply.
Fires are ripe with metaphor: the perfect spot for a writer to contemplate and birth new images. I watched pine cones bristle and crackle and surrender themselves to the heat.
I listened to Rainer, afraid of the unfamiliar and almost willing to come close when I turned and spoke to him. My friendly voice over shadowed the unfamiliar crackling fierceness of the wood in the fireplace, offering itself over.
I wrote an American Sentence poem:
Words fill my notebook while Rainer whimpers, afraid of the fire’s sputters.
This morning at home is a far cry from the crazed busy-ness at the theater, yet I pause to remember the moments in our circle, when we gather before the show to revisit the previous performances and to remember our goals and intentions as actors, artists and collaborators.
asked my friend, Matt, to take photos of this process and the outcome – seeing the
sacredness of the gathering before we create, brought tears to my eyes.
Home, peaceful, quiet, with a fire burning in the center, too.
I am blessed beyond words.
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