fire and smoke


I need to make a fire; to feel the smoke sting my eyes. To find wood – small twigs and pine cones ravaged by the squirrels, then thicker branches, wind-torn limbs from the body of the tall trees. The leaves underfoot are eucalyptus and will fuel my fire with its oils. I’ll wait for the seeds of the marry trees to explode as the heat builds up.

I wait for the call of the owl who sometimes visits this time of day, sitting on his branch, looking down at me – indifferent, serene. Or so it seems. The dying fire is a graphic display of grey feathers of ash, brittle chunks of consumed wood, tinkling like broken glass when I prod with my fire stick. The dogs are close by – the ridgeback crouched close to the heat; the labrador further away.

I look up at the twined tumble of the golden chalice vine shoots, partly obscured by the smoke, then think of an image of pollen I saw today – the mind is a palace with many rooms, doors swinging open at will. It was of a cactus, the same enamel-cream colour as the flowers of the vine.

Not like the image here at all, but I prefer the enlarged microscopic view, offering a view of another, unseen, world.

present tense

This morning my work surface inspires me – here is a small detail. My eyes and mind and heart in sync, I notice old textures anew: Raffia seeds, chipped enamel, dry protea head, celadon glaze of an old bowl. And it makes me happy!

A walk in the garden reveals the first winter-flowering: proteas, aloes, strelizias. The protea a sweetly blushing contrast to the smooth viper-like heads of still-closed aloe heads, similar to the curved beak of the tightly closed strelizia.

Back to work with fresh inspiration.

What inspired you today?

Back to work!

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