Fire and Flame
The universe is extremely cold. The vast majority of the cosmos is composed not of light but darkness, and not of heat but icy temperatures reaching as low as absolute zero (-273.15ºC). The stars dancing in the night sky, and our own dazzlingly overhead by day, though seemingly ordinary, are in fact extraordinary eccentricities. Most visible phenomena can be savored by the eyes for as long as we wish. But quite uniquely the brilliance of the sun can only be viewed for a moment, if that, without the observer being blinded by the sheer power of its light. It is no wonder our ancestors found it so easy to worship the sun, whether in the form of Ra, the Egyptian sun god, or Sol Invictus, the “Unconquered Sun,” a Syrian deity whose birth was observed on the twenty-fifth of December. The rarity of fire in creation is cause for pause and reflection if not adoration. Our existence is yoked to its. Curiously, fire does not continuously reside on the surface with us without effort unlike its siblings of water, earth, and air. Fire is the result of force and friction, at times a source of terrible destruction bursting forth in scarlet and crimson hues from deep below, taking homes, leaving scars, and suffocating or incinerating any who dare get too close, though, at other times, it presents gently as an elemental form of generosity, illuminating an otherwise obscure path, bestowing warmth on a cold night, and, when simply watched with reverence, leaving a feeling of haunting in the heart as the mind is freed to frolic and wander. Amazingly, and without much effort at all, you can lose yourself in the flames while sitting fireside, the warm glow relaxing your body, helping you toward silence, and the pleasure of just being still.