Nature Wisdom

with Pat Tuholske, Naturalist

Fire In Wood

In the depth of the winter season, we burn wood every day. We heat our home with a wood stove. I prepare meals on our wood-burning cook stove. In high summer months, friends gather around enjoying bonfire and story. We drum and sing around ceremonial fires. I have huddled by fires in winter and been scorched by them in summer.

My soul has need of a wood fire. Every morning as I stoke the stove and rekindle the flames, I open to the blessings and healings of the fire’s spirit. I tell my dreams to the fire and the fire teaches me about the eternal flame I carry within.

Fire is the element of will and courage. Fire symbolizes our own inner creative spark and the wisdom of our soul’s memory hidden deep within, awaiting release. Gaze into a shimmering flame and feel the infinite aspect of your spirit stir.

Fire draws people in. Fire mesmerizes. Something deep inside us connects with fire. I have circled around countless fires witnessing the enchanted gaze in people’s eyes. Children are fascinated by fire. As kids, we just couldn’t resist setting small sticks ablaze, watching smoke curl, feeling the intense heat, imagining creature faces in the coals.

This element of rapid transformation demands respect and awe. I marvel at its shape shifting nature and many faces… gentle flickering candle, welcoming hearth, sustaining cook fire, illuminating lightning, rejuvenating wildfire, ash of destruction, passion of creativity and life’s work.

Walking woodland’s edge, I gather small dry twigs to fill the kindling can. It is a daily meditation of gratitude for the gift within the wood. Good dry kindling is the essential foundation of fire building. It is impossible to start a fire without seasoned twigs, dry leaves or grasses, inner bark, sycamore balls or cattail tufts.

A full kindling can and a substantial stack of firewood gives me a strong sense of security. This sense may stem from cellular memories of my Northern European ancestral reliance on the hearth fire. The hearth is the central focus of the home. The present day hearth, the kitchen stove, reflects this longing to gather around the fire. How often do you visit and find everyone crammed into the kitchen? The hearth fire still draws people together.

With the amount of energy and focus one puts into obtaining firewood, you learn to appreciate each log, stick and branch. The tasks… collect, haul, load, unload, split, stack, carry… culminate with offering the wood to the fire. The fire in wood is then released. It’s a meditation on our fundamental relationship with Nature.

Sometimes it’s the simple things, like fire in wood, that can warm the heart and feed the soul. May the blessing of fire be on you – fire without and fire within.

Check out Pat’s journal “Nature as Healer” for musings on the Human-Nature relationship. Go to pattuholske.com. See her wild wreaths and remedies crafted from Ozark native plants at willowrainherbalgoods.com.