Sunday, 6 March 2011

Sunday Scribblings "Fire".

Fire! one of the essential elements of nature. As humans we've learned to conquer her eons ago. Though....have we. Fire burns us back and shows her power in return.
I have been through a few bush fires, from a distance. Not putting myself out there amongst her but keeping a safe distance even though threatened.
An old workmate of mine from Junee lost her home 2 weeks ago. She and her husband are understandably devastated. She is now in her 60's, always lived there. My heart goes out to you Helen. The building lost was more than a home it was a store place of her life. Gone. As heart break goes, there is more to this sad story. A close family member with mental illness lit the fire.
Which leads me to the other part of what I was wanting to talk about.
Fire bugs.
What twists their minds to make them want to cause such destruction? I have a fascination with fire myself but not to the extent that I could ever do something like that. I don't know...I don't know.
I have done a bit of reading on the subject. About the excitement of the flame, the response of the emergency services, the feeling of control and payback. It is all too sad.
There are people today in our jail system who have been failed miserably by a health system who can not cater to mental illness the way they deserve to be. There is no where for these people to go , so they are put in jail, often after a lifetime of pain and fear (at the hands of others?) has sent them to the brink of their own, and others, destruction.
Fire is a beautiful element. Beautiful and destructive.
As a hobby potter it is one of the essential elements of my craft. No fire means no permanence to my clay. The fuel for my little kiln is supplied via gas bottle. The touch of the flame and the heat that causes such beauty and enjoyment for me is safely encased inside my kiln. It's residual heat spreading warmth throughout the studio. But within that warmth there are poisonous gasses that must also be dissipated and controlled. Out of control = failure and danger. I have often burned my fingers.
Where would man be without fire, cold winters, cooking, industry, entertainment even depending on it.

I stand beside the kiln and watch the colour of the flame change as the temperature on the thermocouple gauge rises, rises causing the view through the spyhole to color up slowly from a slight orange glow, brightening to orange up through gradual changes, until it reaches a bright cherry red at it's zenith.
I can feel the heat increase as the gasses rise out of the vent in the top and travel up the chimney, outside and away. I can't resist the invisibility, the magic of the gasses as they rise up and away into the atmosphere so I roll up a sheet of newspaper tightly into a tube and wave it the space between the vent and the chimney and it starts to smoke. The gasses are bursting from the vent with force now and the flame does not appear on the newspaper tube until it is a short distance from the vent , the gasses are blowing the flame out until then and I watch as a stream of smoke comes out the other end of my newspaper tube and the flame begins to travel slowly downwards along the length of the paper. Loving the look of it all, the process of building and eventual destruction it is causing. I play in the flame for a while then throw it onto the cement floor and stomp it with my feet. Still the smoke comes and then the crumbled ash. Ash that itself can be used as a decorating agent as it run my finger in it across the floor and think of the impermanence of us. The fire and ourselves.
Who hasn't watched an open fire burn in its beauty and destruction of the fuel it provides. A peacefulness, a calmness envelopes you as you watch the flames dance through.
Bye for now.
Love Linda.


JTS said...

Fire admittedly holds a fascination and evokes a strong emotional response in us. That's why we love gathering around campfires outside and toasting our toes by the fireplace indoors. But there is also the darker side of fire, as you note here, and as I mentioned in my story for this prompt. People with unsettled spirits often tap into the destructive side of fire, sadly. This was an excellent read, as always Linda!

Winterwood said...

excellent read Linda... I've just written about the not so good destructive fires on my blog... I love the way you describe the kiln flame!

jaerose said...

What a lovely exploration of fire..I agree with so many of the points you make (failing mental health system particularly)..but I love how you end with how, when contained, fire can be a force of beauty and creation..Jae