A spark neglected makes a mighty fire.
I’m joining in with a group of writers for Five Minute Friday where we’re given a prompt (this week it’s DONE) and write for five minutes about it.
A fire burns on the hills directly across the river from where we live. It grows quickly; the afternoon peace is broken as water bombers and helicopters fly overhead, battling a blaze that quickly grows to 360 hectares.
In the evening, the fire crests the hill and begins to burn on the other side. As darkness falls, the view from my deck turns from smoke and flame and char, to one of spot fires dotting the hillside. I close the windows and turn on the air conditioner to gain a measure of respite from the drone of the helicopters, and to guard against smoke that, while it hasn’t been an issue yet, could become one in the night while we sleep.
This morning the stillness is loud after yesterday’s cacophony. I throw open the windows and doors and welcome the peace and the fresh morning air. Smoke has settled in the valley under a clear sky. The winds that fanned the flames last evening are still now; the day looks like any other but for the charred hillside.
The rage of active fire is done.
Word is that the blaze was human caused, and I think about how we sometimes ignite figurative blazes without meaning to, with words spoken or assumptions made. The blaze of conflict rages and grows, and we face a choice: stand by and let it burn or take action, like the firefighters did yesterday, and bring that thing into submission.
So we choose grace. We pause and seek wisdom because we sure can’t do it on our own. Maybe grudgingly at first, we choose the role of peacemaker and stop fueling the flames. We let it burn itself out.
A sweet peace follows, and we rest in gratitude. Smoke lingers for a time, reminding us of what was and what almost was and what really matters. We examine the source, we make repairs, we replant and care tenderly for new growth.