Like You Taste The Smoke | 7.17.22
The Sunday Edition
Here’s a truth, one I’ll tell you though the world has done its damndest to convince you that it’s legend, that it’s myth: You’re born with a raging fire in you. I am not talking sparks, not embers warm and softly glowing, I’m talking forest fire that could spread over the surface of the world if given half a chance. You’re born burning, aflame with promise and hope and some set of purposes that all the choices you make, roads you walk down, risks you take, will reveal to you. You’re a person on fire, from the moment you stare into the bright light of this life, and nothing can change that from being true, nothing can alter it or make it not so.
As we grow, as we age and begin logically progressing through the different chapters and phases of our life, the rainfall of responsibility and consequence, the deep snow of all we’re told we should do for success or wealth, fitting in or progressing nicely along, begin to stifle that fire, begin to smother it and turn steam what was once flame. Before we understand it’s happened, we’re graduating schools, searching for jobs, negotiating salaries, mortgages, insurance bills, and buying crap we do not need but are told we do, daily, by advertisements and celebrities pocketing insane sums for pretending to love the very thing we’re wasting hours for dollars to acquire. That fire we were born with, the light that lit us up from the inside as children, it’s embers now, barely hot enough to toast a marshmallow, let alone torch down the forests of excuses and regret that have begun to grow up tall around us. We lose the fire, and in doing so, we lose the fire we can, and should be, for others in our lives. We forget our glow, we refuse to shine without even knowing we’re refusing it, choosing instead some soft simmering in some quiet background. So few burn, we tell ourselves, why am I worth all that heat, we ask.
I am here to beg you, to implore, live like you’ve that fire in you, for it’s in you still.
As the world dims us, as the weight of all the things we do because we feel we must begins to accumulate, the direct consequence is a darkness. In us, around us, we feel this lightlessness and we convince ourselves it’s normal, it’s all part of the process of growing up, all collateral damage to the progress we’re supposed to be chasing, the wealth we swear we cannot find happiness without. We forget we’re made to chase the light, a fact I am doing my very best to remind you of, constantly, and hope that you hear, that you heed. More than chasing it, however, we’re made to BE light, for everyone we encounter. To be the source that creates the shadow, not the shadow that obscures the source.
When children find one another, they do so with open arms, open hearts, and laughter at the ready. They play with whomever is available to play, no thought or attention given to what they look like, what color their skin, no worry to anything other than the pursuit of joy and the sharing of it once found. I look around now with sad eyes, and I see legislation spreading across this silly country that does nothing but undermine that light, that joy. I see laws being passed, debates raging, on who can love whom, on what restroom someone chooses to use, on who can participate in sports, and I cannot help but think we’ve completely, utterly, lost our way. What brings me hope, what brings me solace and adds oxygen to the fire I still feel in me, is that there are so many still fighting against this, that there are so many willing to still greet with laughter and joy, that we’re not all so blind to how dark we’ve become. I see that light, and it’s that I chase. I refuse, to this very day, to dim my own flames in fear of someone else getting burned. Stand close to me, I say, for you too are fireproof, you too are made of spark and burn. You’ll see.
Another truth, one I’ll share openly with you now: in these Signal Fires, I don’t know where I’m going when I type the first sentence, I don’t know what message my heart and words are trying to whisper out, I don’t know the path they’ll take. I am and always have been a crooked path kinda guy, the lightning bolt shape leading up the volcano, not the manicured lane leading through perfect trees. I get to where I’m going, and I understand once I arrive that it’s where I was meant to land all along. Today, when I began this, I knew I was writing about something so many struggle with, whether they are 16 or 96, that dreadful feeling that the light we were born with, that fire that raged from the moment we sucked in our first breath of air, is going out. I’m here to speak of its otherwise, to ask you to believe me.
You are made of fire, and it’s in you still. Please, for yourself, live like you’re alight, live like you can still feel it burning, live like you taste the smoke in your mouth, puffing it out like dragon breath every time you laugh. Be the heat, the light, for those that enter into your life, and understand that some will complain of the burning, some will try to show you their scars and convince you that you made them. Worry not of these, let them stand in their own shadows, their own frost, but offer that fire all the same, tell them it’ll always be there should they tire of the cold. Chase the light, the life that adds fuel to your fires, not asks it to extinguish or simmer.
Live like you’ve a fire in you, for I promise, promise, promise, you do. You are flames, and I hope you never forget.
There’s a fire in you,
live like you feel it burning,
like you taste the smoke.