By Judy Sorum Brown
Space between the logs.
What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can squelch a fire,
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water can.
So building fires
requires tending in a special way,
attention to the wood
as well as to the spaces in between,
so fire can catch, can grow, can breathe,
can build its energy and warmth
which we so need in order
to survive the cold.
We need to practice
building open spaces
just as clearly as we learn to pile on the logs.
It's fuel and absence of the fuel together,
that make fire possible.
Let it develop in the way that's
possible when we lay logs in just
the way the fire wants to go.
Then we can watch it as it leaps and plays,
burns down and then flames up
in unexpected ways.
Then we need only lay a log on it
from time to time.
Then it has a beauty that emerges not where logs are
but where spaces can invite the flames
to burn, to form exquisite
patterns of their own,
their beauty possible
simply because the space is there,
an opening in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.