Fall AgainFall Again

Fires be Done

July 06, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Fires be Done

The smell of soot, tiny particulates as light as the air rising from burning pine and scrub oak, carried by dry winds across mountain ranges to where I am standing right now. The stench begins to erode the euphoria of my upcoming Colorado Trail hike. One thought consumes me. I simply cannot have these forest fires ruin what I have been planning over the past two years, the hours and layers of details, lives shuffled to accommodate this adventure.

I will begin this trek in less than two weeks. I refuse to allow the distraction. What I am smelling, what I hear reported on the evening news, what I read about streaming on social media – they are all attempting to combat but will not succeed against what I know has been determined for me. I am hiking this trail. The rains will come soon. The fires will diminish. The path and the air will be cleared for me. I summon the heavens and earth to confirm my faith in dreams, my inner-knowing that this shall not be removed from me.

That sounds selfish, like a demanding little brat. It’s how I feel some days. But on other days I am balanced with the idea that all we ask of this life contains an inner core of self-desire. When we pray for the survival of a hospitalized loved one, is not some of that plea to save us from the hurt of loss? Self-preservation is human nature; maintaining and defending a peaceful existence is a core trait. It is not dishonorable to seek well-being, to be happy. In this case I embrace my selfishness; I proudly announce my pursuit of happiness and my means of achieving it.

Happiness (well-being) in a clinical sense is either classified as hedonic or eudaimonic.  Hedonic well-being focusses on pleasure attainment and pain avoidance; it’s nature is experiential; it’s a feeling. Whereas the eudaimonic well-being focuses on achievement of meaning and self-realization; it’s a measure of the degree to which a person is fully functioning as designed and intended.

Mahatma Gandhi says: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

When I say the trail makes me happy; it’s all those things. It’s a feeling experienced. It’s an act that defines and fulfills meaning. It’s an alignment of thought, words, and actions – achieving a degree of harmonious existence.

To some, the smell in the air offends only the senses. To others it’s simply the smell of nature; that in the natural cycle of any forest, a fire signifies the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. In any other year and time I could agree with both perspectives.  But in this moment, it offends all my senses and my well-being; it threatens divine purpose.

So, be done, fires. Clear away, smoke. There is something greater happening here. It’s me, David on Earth, ready to receive and exercise a divine calling.


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