Whispers on the Stairs
Fire Season was approaching!
It begins when the blistering sun of summer and the Easterly winds have scorched across the land, draining it of every last drop of moisture and seeming life it had within it. The people draw inside their homes, shut their doors and windows from the air, so hot it scorches your lungs just to take a breath. Then the cold comes to take its hold. Then the clouds begin to crest the horizon, too high for their drops to arrive with little more than a taste to make the land weep for more. They clash in the skies above, charging the air with energy as the thunder shakes even the stoutest of trees in the depths of the ground and the lightening streaks across the sky in an endless play of bolts and balls and rippling energies of light. When finally they touch upon the ground and taste the dried and decayed matter, they erupt in flames, consuming ravenously all they can reach.
We sit and watch this display. We hope our homes made of our special bricks will resist the dancing inferno. Then we breathe in the energy that has charged every atom of the air during the fire storm. It enters us then, and if we let it deep inside to the seed within, it ignites us as well. Its a powerful feeling to have the fire storm ignite your seed. When it does, it releases you in a way that you cannot imagine. You always have the choice to only let as much in as you choose to. It is “your” seed, after all.
We are taught of this from as early as we are able to learn. We are also guarded from it, from its influence, until we are old enough to make that choice ourselves. And when it is time, our guardians will step back and we can look upon the fire storm and choose to either welcome it or turn it away. But, once we let it in, we must set aside our childhood and move into the realm of the adults. Some resist its calling for a few seasons, wishing to remain in the innocence and protection of the uninitiated. Some will embrace it at the first opportunity. A few escape the protection of the elders and enter into it at too young an age and are consumed by it. A small number choose never to allow its full touch. Each have their own reasons and each have their own place here.
I reached the age of choice a couple of seasons ago, but held back. Instead, I waited to watch my friends. I wanted to observe how they were changed so as to better know if it was something I wished for myself. I have always been less impulsive than many of the others. I wasn’t willing to give up who I was till I learned if I didn’t like who I would become. For there is never any truly going back once you have taken that step across that line. Oh, you can choose not to take it again in the seasons that follow. But, you will still be forever changed for having taken it at all. Given that knowledge, I wanted to be sure before I crossed that line.
Last season, as the fires danced across the land, lighting up the skies in their reds and oranges and yellows and blues, and the doors swung open on the homes and the way was parted for those that felt the longing to take those steps. I found myself moving forward and across the threshold into the fiery night.
The fire shot, then swirled about us as we began to dance and sing in the clearing. Walled in by the flames, the thunder crashing in the heavens, the skies split by the bolts, we breathed it in, letting it reach down and touch that seed, protected for all of our lives until now. Feeling it now for what it truly was.
We became the fire when our seed ignited, equally ravenous, equally devouring.
I saw him for the first time that night, or I saw him in a way I had never seen him before. But, when our eyes met, our fires joined together with each other, weaving a fiery cord that pulled us closer together, until we touched. We were wrapped in a pillar of our combined flames at that moment, set aside from all else and at the utter mercy of the desire that pounded in every cell of our being. We devoured each other with our desire, each touch igniting new dancers of flame on the others skin, each taste giving fuel to the fire, each movement raising us to even higher levels than before. Till finally, we merged. The skies seemed to open above us then and we were floating. Floating in a cool air that did nothing to dampen the heat of our desires. In fact, it just raised them to a higher level. Up we went into the sky, a twisting, undulating ball of molten fire till that one last pulse snapped the seed open and the wash of stars floated down to bathe our searing forms.
Some of us mark the days till the next season, forever hungry for the consuming and the being consumed. The seed shooting new and different growth with each merging. There are some that always choose the same other to dance with, time and time again. There are others that will find a new partner to do the fire dance with each time. Each way creates growth in different ways. The children born of the fire dance are the most treasured of our kind. Few stay past maturity, longing to merge back into the fires from which they were birthed. They enter the fires alone and dance a dance that even an artist cannot dream of before they are wrapped in the embrace of the flames and taken back in.
Though a few do remain. They never cross the threshold when the door is thrown open. They just stand and watch, no sadness, no regret. Simply a look of understanding on their faces and never leave their place till the very last dance has been done.
So, you see? For us, the Fire Season is truly a time to celebrate!
“What’s in there?”
The soft rays of the sun caressed the dawn skies, awakening it to the touch of morning and bathing it in a gentle light of flowing colors. The shadows stirred forth from their hiding places and the creatures of the day began to emerge from their own slumbers. A wash passed over the tops of the rows of trees, setting light to the dew mist upon their leaves, a starshine net cast upon their peaks.
He leaned back and watched it for some time and the spell of the forest touched him once again. “So, its a story you wish to hear, is it?” He asked the little man. “Well, fine then. Then tis a story you shall have.” He reached into his pack again and pulled out his pipe, filled it with some sweet smelling tobacco, lit it, then leaned back against the stump and began to talk.