Sep 8, 2013

The Wildness Beyond The Order

This afternoon, following days of rain and hot sun, clouds and wind and lightening, the weather seemed to steady itself. In need of a little steadying myself, I wandered out into the yard with fire on my mind. The rains had allowed the local burning-ban to be lifted and all I could think of was pulling out my fire bowl again after months of being without it.

After starting the fire, I tossed some of my herb bundles on top.  Walking around the low bowl, I suffumigated myself with the fragrant smoke from the burning stalks of local sagebrush, yarrow and the mugwort from my garden.  The smoke was delicious, and I shook out my just-washed hair to soak up some of the scent.  It wasn't long before the neighbours murmured a greeting through the fence and then headed inside their home.  The odd girl next door was at it again.

Fire is one of my favourite partners in meditation and divination.  I was raised in the woods, in front of a campfire by my outdoorsman parents, so it naturally feels like home to me.  The popping sounds of the wood, the hiss and sizzle when a good portion of pitch is present, and the low hum of the flame consuming its fuel - all put me in an almost immediate trance.


After a time, I refocused on my surroundings.  I noticed how orderly the yard was.  Raised garden beds with perfect borders, spaced evenly, with rows of vegetables, flowers and herbs within.  A neat stack of firewood.  Garden tools all contained in a caddy.  Everything seemed tidy and carefully arranged.  It made me wonder how much of my life I tried to keep in perfect order.

I'm a Virgo, so perfectionism is something I've wrestled with more than once.  That part of me is in a nearly constant battle with the girl who just wants to live in a purple Volkswagen van with a little barbeque and a hammock and a huge stack of books.  I'm one part librarian and one part gyspy.  It can be frustrating.

Fortunately, a good long fire allows for a good long consideration of whatever your mind is chewing on, and after a time bemoaning my perfectly boring yard, I noticed the dandelions - which I adore, but which lead other folks to insanity.  I noticed the bumper crop of tomatoes lolling all over the bed and over the edge, heavy with their fruit.  I smiled at the weeds getting high along the fence line - knowing that I'd get some more plantain harvested out of that jungle before the lawn mower came out again.

There is wildness everywhere.  It shows us that life is happening.  It is moving. Growing. Changing.

I can spend as much as I want to keep the yard orderly, but eventually nature takes over again. Nothing is perfect.  

I am fortunate.  Any time I need a bit of true "wild" I can drive five minutes up the road and end up heading into the valley's hills.  Here at home though, I think I've been spending a bit too much time on perfection.  After a summer of trying so hard to keep order, I feel like I need a bit of unruly in my life.

Right at this moment, I smell of woodsmoke and herbs.  I could be doing a dozen things, from emptying my in-box at the office, to grinding the herbs and resins that are gathered waiting to become incense.  But I think I'll jump onto my bed and surround myself with pillows and books and enjoy the lingering scent on my skin and hair.

This is just the beginning of fire season.  And the beginning of me finding a little wildness beyond the order.


22 comments:

Betty said...

I loved this post. I thought it was beautifully said. I miss being around a fire at My Aunts farm this time of the year. Just so magical.

Mario Zeleny said...

What a great post. I understand what you mean about perfection keeping us from living.

My backyard has concrete and fences. That's it. We haven't had the money to finish it. So, I don't go out there.

We are waiting for the money and to get that expensive fire pit and .... the rest of the stuff on the list.

I miss outside and perfection keeps me from being out there...

Thank you for reminding me there are creative alternatives to the "perfect backyard to do list".

Isn't it interesting what we allow to imprison ourselves?

Its time for a fire in my backyard!

Mario

tveirhrafnar.com said...

Although it is still quite warm here in Tennessee, my wife and I were talking how soon it will be fire time. I love the half of the year where we live and cook by the woodstove, the smells, the particular warmth, the light in the darkness...

I can safely say, however, that our yard is not orderly in the least! Wild, yes....

jaz@octoberfarm said...

ha! i love this post! living in the city can be a real nightmare. lots of people do not get outdoor fires. my nasty neighbor called the firehouse on me and a huge truck with sirens blaring showed up. all of the firefighters stood around my firepit contemplating my fire. i suggested that it was no different than burning a wood fire in an indoor fireplace. they looked confused and left. my neighbor is a huge jerk.

mxtodis123 said...

Great post, and it was even more wonderful to hear from you. I don't have a backyard anymore, having chosen to live in a building, but even if I did, we can't light fires like that in the city.
Mary

Danni said...

We also had our first fire of the season this afternoon. Mind-meld! :)

I'm glad you were able to gain some clarity outside. Sometimes a little bit of the wild is perfect.

Tilda said...

Campfire smoke is my absolute favorite perfume :)

Linda Wildenstein said...

We did our first a little bit ago and like you I wanted to just bathe in the lovely smell and have it stay. The wild is a good place to contemplate...or a firepit in your own wild sometimes does the trick too. Thanks for sharing your adventure. Oma Linda

the wild magnolia said...

Good post.

I am a Virgo. Your writing of Virgo could be said of me.

I love a fire pit and burning dried herbs. I love to sit before a fire and think.

Rue said...

In the larger town I used to live in, they had more strict rules. But you could have a little chimnea if you wanted. As long as the fire was enclosed, it was allowed.

Perhaps you'll get a drive out to the country this Fall, for a good campfire.

Rue said...

Aidan - I had the pleasure of flying low over Tennessee once, on my way to Nashville. It was November and the trees looked like a quilt of every divine autumn color. I fell in love with your state instantly.

Speaking of which, I just discovered your stunning website! I am utterly bewitched by the key (among so many others.)

Free2bfree said...

It was lovely to spend time with you and your mini-bonfire, Jen! Soon, I hope to be able to do it for real since it was way too hot and dry to even consider it this summer.
#LivingVicariouslyTheseDays

Hugs ~*~ Karen

Lluisa Munoz said...

I love your post, just reading it has sent me to a campfire and the smell of sage....thanks for sharing such a lovely post :)

Love&light

Lluisa

Aine O'Brien said...

Oh, now I need a backyard fire! Thank you for reminding me how healing and clearing fire is.

Velva said...

I loved this post. When we connect to nature we can easily find our ability to reflect and connect. LOve it.

Thanks for sharing.

Velva

Birdie said...

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I am also from B.C. on Vancouver island.

Ans yes, it is time to take out our fire pit. Oh, joy! I have never heard of herb bundles and I am definitely going to try this.

Jennifer said...

Your posts have been especially poignant and beautiful lately. Thank you for your lovely, inspiring blog!

Eilis said...

Another Virgo here !! I certainly get it. I feel like the librarian and the gypsy too and I love volkswagen transporters ( the old ones) and purple ; )
Have a magical day.

jill said...

Another Virgo here as well, I know what you mean I would love to travel like a gypsy maybe we should all meet up and have camp fires together, well a girl can dream. Lovely post I could smell your herbs as I read it. Love Jill xx

Rue said...

Group camp/campfires are the best! All those campers & gypsy vans in a circle - it would be a blast!

Bogaman said...

Part Librarian part Gypsy, now there's quite the combination:)

Buccaneers and Ball Gowns said...

Haha, part librarian and part gypsy is exactly how I would describe myself. I actually really am a librarian (well at the moment I am an archivist, but that is in the same field and my degree is in library science). I am constantly torn between wanting to stay home and be around all my books and organized things, and run off to who knows where just because the wind calls. It may be noteworthy that I am also a Virgo. I love this whole post!