Fire (Thoughts on the Elements, Part 1)

I’ve decided to do a series of posts on the four Elements. This is the first post in the series, talking about Fire, more to follow.

I’m not allowed to burn candles in the house, with my balance issues, mom thinks I’ll knock them over, or I won’t place them in their holders right, and they’ll fall. I used to have nightmares about our house burning to the ground, so I always kept a few precious stuffed animals by my bedroom door so I could grab them quickly before I ran out of the house (I know you’re not supposed to do that, but dammit, I loved my dollies!).

I like to think I’ve mellowed out since then. There’s a fireplace to the left of me as I type this. I like staying down here in the winter. This is helpful fire, heating fire, cooking fire. Fire is a catalyst. I read somewhere that once humans started cooking their food, our brains doubled in size. Fire kept us warm at night and scared away predatory animals.

Passion and drive. We call people “hot-blooded” and talk of seers having fire in their heads. Fire consumes, destroys, purifies, strengthens. Fire is in the blacksmith’s forge, in lightning, in the sun, the forest fire, when certain trees drop their seeds. I associate Fire with the South, where it’s hot. Fire is the one element that discourages touching. I can hold a handful of Earth, cup Water in my hands, and feel Air on my skin, but Fire? Can’t touch it, it burns. I feel Fire inside me, my warm-blooded body kept at a constant temperature (higher if feverish). Luckily, fire is also fatal to most of the small creatures that conspire to make me sick.

I’m not a particularly “fiery” person. I’m not particularly assertive, aggressive, or temperamental. Despite having a much-used tag for things that piss me off, I don’t like to waste my energy by getting angry about things. I’m the person who always says “Chill out, relax.” I’m not a rebel, I don’t like taking risks or thrill-seeking. It’s a strange sort of relationship, one of respect and wariness, even as I use it to cook my food and give my home light and warmth.

My relationship with Fire, I suppose, can roughly be summed up as one of wary respect, even as I enjoy my fireplace and the warmth it brings.

Hail fire, blazing inferno, tiny spark!

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