flying fire and torches

Before I go on with my usual post, I have to share a kid quote that just occurred at dinnertime this evening. My little one, age 4, jumped into the middle of the conversation that was heading in this direction:

"That’s a BIG ‘if,’" I’d said.

"IF!!!!" Nick shouted. "That’s an even BIGGER IF!"

I adore the mind of the uncluttered.

Now then, did anyone else see any ominous "flying fire" in the sky this weekend? I’m not talking fireworks displays. As we sat in folding chairs and on blankets in a parking lot awaiting the big fireworks display — kids, glowsticks, dogs and mosquitoes buzzing all around us — something glowing and unfamiliar emerged overhead. "Look!" Nick said. "It’s fire, and it’s flying!" Indeed, that’s exactly what it looked like. For the next ten minutes, until it drifted further away and, finally, extinguished into the air, our eyes stayed fixed on that flying flame. "It’s a UFO," some said. "It’s like a little hot-air balloon," others proposed. "Is it a plane? No, it can’t be." The movements of the flying flame reminded me of the hot-air balloon Dorothy, the Professor and Toto ride to escape Oz, only it was obvious it wasn’t a hot-air balloon. Its speed was much quicker than that, and it was more illuminated than such a balloon would have been at night. Eventually, others followed in its wake, one by one, and we concluded that these intermittent flying flames must be some sort of new, floating fireworks.

It wasn’t until we were walking away from the final scene of the evening, heading back to the van, when the mystery was uncovered. A group of people were gathered in a circle all working together to light something that looked like a large, rounded flour sack. Even after it was properly lit, it took a while for the object to rise. But eventually, it began to take flight, and then suddenly it, too, was off on a nighttime adventure, perhaps to join all of the other flying flames (or flour sacks) that had gone before it.



I sure am glad we had a chance to witness the flying flame up close. I would have still been wondering.

With that image in mind, I want to end, for the second day in a row, with a poem. This one comes at the very start of a book I picked up at the library today, a creative memoir by writing guru Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way), in the acknowledgements section. The poem is written by the author herself, and I credit it as having prompted me to pull the book from the shelf and bring it to the check-out counter. I can only imagine what other wonderful things might be in store within these pages. I especially like Cameron’s statement: "Our words are torches, We pass them hand to hand…mouth to mouth."

May your torch, those words you share with others, burn brightly this week.



There are many things which resist naming,

And that is why we write.

We write because language is slippery,

And the truth is

We write because

The light we have to see by

Is always shifting


Never forget that writers are prophets

We speak in tongues.

We testify.

We are for each other a believing mirror.

Our words make us visible.

Our listening makes us heard.


Never forget that writers are soldiers.

Our writing is the long march,

The walk into time.

Each word is a drum.

We sound it across great distances,

Reaching one another and ourselves.

Every poem is a day’s march.

A celebration more necessary than water or wine.

Every poem is a drink of blood.


Never forget that writing is an act of courage —

Not on the days when it is simple and we discount it.

Not on the days when it is hard and we write like sand.

Our words are torches.

We pass them hand to hand

And mouth to mouth

Like a burning kiss.


Never forget to say thank you.

Every syllable is a grace.

– J.C.