A Burning Metaphor

Ash rained from the sky today. It stuck to my windshield wipers and my hair, and collected on the blacktop like sinister snow.

The air smells of smoke, a friendly kind of smoke that reminds me of hot dogs and blackened marshmellows melting squares of Hershey's. But this isn't campfire smoke. It is the smell of lightning kissing drout-dry grass, the smell of summer and heat and pure, elemental destruction.

My state is on fire.

The Pinyon Fire, viewed from Sandy, Ut


And we burn together.

Writing is so much like wildfire. Unconfined, at the will of the winds and the dry. Sometimes the flames in us look so small, tiny sparks landing on brittle ground.

Fan them. Fuel them. The ground seems dry and infertile, the crops withered, the grasses dry.

Strike them with lightning. Do not try to govern the fire, burn with it. Let it flow through the juniper and the oak and the sage. Let it turn the sunset red with smoke and make the world orange and black and brilliant with the light of our words.

Leave nothing untouched. Be wild.

And when our fire jumps containment, when the houses are evacuated and black hawk helicopters hover with buckets of water, when we are frightened of our minds and our hearts and do not think we can find a way back from how huge it all is, that is when we throw gasoline on the flames.

We rain ash on the ground like summer snow.

Fires leave a mark. They are remembered. They hang in the air, linger on the tongue and the mind. They change everything they touch permanently. They inspire wonder and terror at once.

What more could we ask from our writing?

**Ahem, don't actually set fires, okay? Metaphorical fires are awesome. Real fires are bad.**




11 thoughts on “A Burning Metaphor

    1. So far so good, thanks! Sure, there have been some blips, but determination is the key to all, and I have it in spades.

      The actual goal is 13 novels (two in November). Should be interesting.

  1. She’s got seven down, five to go. Watching her near crunch time is kind of inspiring.

    And dangerous.

  2. Beautiful!
    (Fire symbolizes desire. Oil, gas, consumption, CO2, continual economic expansion of the world economies, 6 billion headed to 9 billion)
    This fire was supposedly started by the earth-storms. Because of the old munitions at Camp Williams they can’t fly over with water to put it out, nor can they send fire fighters in to put it out.
    Your prose captures the moment, and the state of human intent and consequence, beautifully!

  3. wow~i was scared when i read this 🙂 scared in a good way. the last line literally made me laugh out loud because of how *solemn* and *serious* i felt when reading it.

    fear is a dangerous thing, and it doesn’t just apply to outward things. you can be afraid of inward things as well. o_O this is going to be an interesting battle for me.

      1. interesting way of looking at it. 🙂 but you’re a writer, right? all writers have “interesting” ways of looking at things. 😛

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