I spent the evening moving between bliss, empathy, smoke, and water. I dropped what I was doing - - - [lying in bed in a strange world, attempting to gather/regather myself] - - - to ride on a borrowed bike into France, down some country roads in moments of centre, and up a hill to a small path into the forest with new friends... [pre-approved. and it's a small world.]
We walked into the forest at dusk, gathering branches and sticks along the way, seeking out a place to settle in, to make a fire. . . and a fire we made. Gazing up through the branches at the stars, down at the embers, the crackles of flame, we talked about where we each come from. A flame-catch to slow us down. No facade. Just asking each other honest questions and [eventually] listening to tender, heart-opening improvisation around the fire.
Tonight, I am reminded of another bonfire that was lit last night on a beach in San Francisco as several dear ones gathered together as they tried to make sense of the death of a loved one who died several thousand miles away in a car accident. Thea... she was travelling and working for a year in New Zealand, a bright soul, a beautiful, solid flame that stood strong with matter-of-fact-love.
Travelling. But surrounded by new family.
Life is tender. Suffering is inanimate and it softens us in such ways that are hard to come to terms with. Honesty comes from moving with the body's reactions and hearing, honouring those tremors.
Tonight, I tremble.
At beauty. At tenderness with new friends around a campfire. At the strength of dear ones on a beach a continent and a half away. At the softness, at my hardness.
Cast true delight and find no ruse; pull the reel and find at its end the solitude of Belonging.