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June 21st, 1897
As I created a fire from trash and other refuse from around my home, I came to a realization that was blatantly obvious. I doubt that I could have come across this conclusion if I had not been as well rested on this summer solstice day. My mind works much better and much more efficient when I am well rested and not the least bit hungry, thirsty, or have my mind on anything other than the task at hand. As I stood and watched the fire I saw the smoke come off of the flames in a swirling helical motion that seemed to be just like the double helix of human DNA and reminiscent of the caduceus. As I watched, I wondered if the fire itself was alive, but in a different aspect of all living creatures. Perhaps the fire was a disease which consumed anything and everything until it was entirely consumed. I wondered if every fire I have ever started had a life of its own. Was it a rapid yet visually stunning disease of sorts that was clearly destroying anything in its surroundings? Were the molecules of the wood and refuse that were burning being taken into the air to dissipate only to be reincarnated into something else at a later date? As I saw the helical motion of the smoke, I imagined that this may be a clear sign that the secret of our DNA is just that…fire. Did not the ancients, soothsayers, medicine men and palm readers say that man was constructed of the four elements? The four elements known to early man were fire, water, air, and earth.
Are not, we, human beings parts of all four of these? Is it not said that we are created out of the dust of the earth in many different origin stories all throughout the world? Yet, after study, did scientists not find that we are mostly made of water? The air we breathe is what fuels us, and without it we are without the breath of life that maintains our existence. Is it not a fire in our hearts and souls that power our dreams, our wants and our desires? We may be made of innumerable cells and of various elements of the periodic table, but the ancients had it correct. As time moves on, I do believe that the sciences will prove what the students of the ancient world already knew. The answers to life’s mysteries are not mysteries at all. They are clearly evident to the souls who want to understand the to’s and fro’s of life from every aspect.
Earlier in this day, I was pouring water and the way the water flowed out of my container, I saw that it too, was somewhat reminiscent of the caduceus as well. The spiraled ropelike pattern the water flow showed me that like fire, water was an element that was also in constant motion. While the molecules of frozen water slow down, the molecules of a liquid are always in motion. One of the most common indications of a living creature is its movement. It is only fitting that we, as all living creatures of this earth, are mostly constructed of water and that as long as we are of the living, we are just like the rivers and oceans which are in constant movement.
It is rather curious that a plant can be born in the soil when the right amount of water is added. Like mankind, the plants are of the earth and require air and water throughout its life. However, grass and other plants can come back when they have been long thought to have been dead and gone, after the ground has been excited by fire in the previous season. Once the land has been burned and charred, it is not uncommon for a field to bear a greener pasture or have plants or flowers that were thought to have been long been destroyed. It is as if the four elements known by ancient man are not confined only to mankind or the animal kingdom, but to all life. It’s the water and soil of the earth that construct us, the breath of life that awakens our bodies and the fire of our souls that keep us in going until we are no more. And after we are gone, we become ashes or we return to the ground by decomposition. Either way, we return to the very same earth in which we were said to have been created.
Unlike fire which took away life, water gives life. And for the converse of this idea, one who has a fire in their heart can also drown by too much water when their breath is taken away. Yet, it takes air and oxygen to create fire, or the soil of the earth or water to finish a fire. It takes moisture in the air to bring forth precipitation. And it takes the earth to contain all the water, air and fire that the world has known. Just as the known elements of the periodic table are used to construct all that’s visible, the four elements of the ancient world work together and against each other in order to create and destroy which is nothing more than the circle of life.
As I continued to watch the fire, I noticed the movement of the smoke. Of course, the helical motion of the smoke was something that originally triggered my deep contemplation, but this also spawned another simple idea that I had never considered. As I witnessed the smoke travel upwards, as all smoke does, I was reminded of the memories and previous incarnations of the trash and wood. I was reminded of how these items too will return to the earth. Their molecules will fall to the ground, in the soil and water, and be taken in by the plants and animals. It will return to the soil which in turn will create new life.
This trash and refuse was a burnt offering, of sorts. And as I thought it possibility of being a burnt offering, I considered what the significance of the burned animal could have been in ancient times. Clearly the gods that were being offered these burnt offerings were not benefiting in any way from the charred animal carcass. But…I asked myself, what if the burnt offering was an idea proposed by the visitors from the heavens? What if, by seeing the smoke from the heavens, the visitors, angels, aliens, gods could see that mankind was adhering to their suggestions? These burnt offerings were simply reminders of the people to show their respect/love to the aforementioned entities. How else could the angels/aliens/gods see the act of sacrifice if there was no smoke? If the gods/angels/aliens resided in the heavens, are not the heavens, nothing more than the sky itself? Would not these burnt offerings make sense? It would simply show that mankind was listening to their suggestions. But then again, who am I to question the intentions of those entities greater than me?
I ask these questions on this sunny solstice, and despite my rambled musings, I know that I will never have a definitive answer to these pondered ideas. Regardless of my wondering and my answerless questions, my imagination and yearning to understand the workings of life will not perish until the fire in my soul is one day quenched.
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