July 10, 2008

Fire and the Beyond

It has been a day of the elements here on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick – fog, wind, water and now fire. I am in a campground in St. Martins where we visited caves bored by tidal waters. This area has huge tides. We walked in the caves at low tide and at high tide they are filled with water. It’s nature messing around with us.

The day was ruled by fog, an evocative element if there ever was one. I recalled days of my youth that I cannot even remember. The dim view and the cool mist took me back to places that are filled only with dim, diffuse light. But they were places of peace and rest. Fog is good.

I have built a fire at my campsite about 50 yards from the Bay of Fundy. I should give you the measurements in meters and in French but I know neither. All I can give you is the feeling.

The fog has drifted away at the end of the day revealing coastal views. I built the fire in daylight since it does not get dark here until after ten o’clock. It provides me warmth against the stiff breeze of the cool coast air.

I am always drawn to a campfire and I am not sure why. Something primal lives in there. I did not sit around campfires as a child, but perhaps my ancestors did. I sit alone for the moment and yet I recall the people who have joined me in the past: my wife at many campsites, my son in the White Mountains, my father who loved to burn anything and everything, my friend John on the coast of Maine, the men of Shalom Seacoast and all the people who have stopped by in the past to say hello, many never to be seen again. A campfire is never lonely.

The wind is carrying my breath to feed the flames and bellowing the flames and smoke out to the waves of the bay. The waves are carrying my breath beyond.

Beyond. Maybe fire is about “beyond.” Beyond me, beyond you, providing warmth and protection, destroying and transforming. It picks me up and carries me away to the Beyond.

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