How shall I think about fire?

The start of the Lookout Fire, in Oregon’s western Cascades, caused by lightning strike, August 5, 2023

Approx. read time: 1:30 min.

The late afternoon bus rumbles west on Hwy. 126 through the center of the little town of McKenzie Bridge. I look to the north, beyond the two roads that intersect with the highway. Residents have been evacuated from their homes. 

The backdrop just beyond is Lookout Mountain that eases down toward the highway.

The upper half of this forested south flank of the mountain is concealed in white smoke. It won’t take much for the fire to claw its way into town. Crews are focused on defense.

Fire. Wild fire. Wildfire.

I think now of the words of Francis of Assisi, in his Canticle of Creation:

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you brighten up the night.
How beautiful is he, how cheerful!
Full of power and strength.

This ferocious Lookout Fire is not “the enemy.” It is a wild part of Creation with a voracious appetite, set loose, through lightening strike, in deeply parched forest spanning the rugged Cascades.

Creation is wild. And like many fellow humans, I think it should be otherwise. I’m surprised when it isn’t.

I think now of words of French theologian and mystic Pierre Teilhard de Chardin regarding fire:

Christ, his heart a fire:
capable of penetrating everywhere and,
gradually, spreading everywhere.

I have long been drawn to these words. Sacred Fire, capable of penetrating everywhere and, gradually, spreading everywhere.

Isn’t this what I want?

Christ, the all-consuming Fire, purifying, cleansing, taking into the Great Divine Self, the Great One Love … everything, everything.

I ponder an incomprehensible All: Holy Hidden Mystery, invisible, yet very present, rewilding my heart.

Be well. Stay safe and strong. Love one another.

Photo: The start of Lookout Fire, August 7, 2023 (Eugene) Register-Guard

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