Sweet sad laughter filled his head

Beltane and the Living in the Mountains Moon

Afternoon gratefuls for Wednesday: Cold white tea. Glass. Fire. Peat briquets. Ireland. The Celts. Dry Pine split logs. A chimney. A fireplace. Overstory, the last pages. A day of resting, wondering, wandering.


You know. I sat there in my Stickley chair. Overbuilt with gothic trusses, slotting joinery, arms wide for books and tea and my blood pressure cuff.

Build a Fire. Go on. Build a Fire. But I have to get up. I know, build a Fire and put the Peat briquets on it. Sometimes I listen to this slice of Self. Sometimes not.

This time. Got an edition of the Canyon Courier from last year, crumpled it up and put the wads under the andirons. A few slick pages, clay paper I think, above them, on the metal. Twigs. Fatwood. Two thinner chunks of Pine, one fatter one across them. Four of the black briquets formed from the Peat beds of old Ireland. One match. Left the doors slightly open for the draft.

Went back to the chair, sank in, almost disappearing into its bulk. As Fires do, it was nothing special at first. A pop here. A tendril of smoke. Did it go out? No, a Flame. Soon it burned with the ancient mystery of a Campfire out on the Veldt. Like our ancestors then I watched mesmerized. This is knowledge known by the heart.

As the Flames licked up in the draft of Air, the Fire began to dance, pirouetting, pointing toward the Sky. And, as my favorite line in Beowulf goes, Heaven swallowed the Smoke. The scent of Peat, pre-Coal Lignite, leaked out. Smelling like a left over glass of single malt whisky. Aqua Vita.

Only a few pages left to go in Overstory. The denouement. Characters dying, being jailed, thinking back, imagining a brand new life ahead. Dissolution then reseeding.

The wood in the fire. Trees now dead, lighting the room, heating it. Disturbing the Air. Making Smoke. The Trees in the book, many dead, many dying. Seeds being saved. Wild plans to solve the crisis of stupidity invading our species.

That time at the Peaceable Kingdom when Psilocybin sent tendrils of neural Fire through my consciousness. Lying in the Garden I watched the Potatoes grow. Amazed. One with the Soil and the vitality. This is the way.

On the Oak arm of the chair I had a glass of white Tea. A Leaf grown on a shrub in faraway China. Made cold in the refrigerator. Water. Fire. Air. Earth. Tea. Wood. Peat. Overstory. Lodgepoles and Aspen. Willows. Ponderosa. Bristlecone Pine. Aspen’s great clonal Communities.

Sadness crept up on me. Wish Kate could share this with me. No tears. Only that tweak of impossible desire. A longing to spend the last years like this. A book. Some tea. A Fire in the fireplace. Tea-saturated Water in the Water place. Shadow Mountain beneath me. The blue Colorado Sky above me. Why strive? Wu wei. Follow the Watercourse. Listen to the Mountain. See the Trees. Be with them. Warm myself from time to time in the way of burning.

The Arapaho Forest. I live amongst Trees and the Wild Neighbors they support. Amongst the Mountains the Trees change into Soil. I am a hermit, in a hermitage. A Chinese scholar fled to his Mountain retreat after the bureaucracy got too much.




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