Dear Friends of the Fire:
Growing up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, I can remember a vague sense that things weren’t quite right.
The new housing development we lived in seemed to have only the trappings of nature: ornamental trees and shrubs, and the ubiquitous lawns that required constant mowing, not to mention fertilizer and weed killer. My friends and I would inevitably seek out the sparse patches of wooded areas that still carried a shroud of mystery with their tangle of greenery, and the squirrels, opossums and occasional raccoon and deer.
These were places of discovery and wonder where I felt like a part of something bigger.
I was fortunate to spend most Sundays with my grandfather Charlie, who boarded horses near one of the many parks that ringed our county. I learned to groom ponies and horses, clean their stalls, saddle them, and best of all, ride competently alongside Charlie on the trails that wound their way through the nearby metropolitan park. Sitting proudly on his Tennessee walker, my grandfather—short, stocky, and with his ruddy complexion and jet-black hair oiled back, said very little. I was free to let my mind roam and to take in the beauty of the oak and maple forest that surrounded us, becoming a part of it all.
Eventually those days ended. The horses got sold. My grandfather’s health gradually deteriorated. I moved on to bikes and then to cars. I lost that sense of connection to nature and to a larger and more mysterious world. I got by, but life became a series of sometimes overwhelming challenges.
I began to yearn and wonder about that connection I had somehow lost.
That yearning continued for many years. Then I found my way to a sacred fire held by the ocean, often on the beach under a full moon. Here again I touched the mystery and the wonder! Sharing with others around the fire, I began to feel again the deep bond that connects us to each other and to the amazing world which surrounds us.
Sitting by the fire, I discover my fellowship with others. Together, we find our way home.
If you find yourself yearning for something more, something mysterious, something bigger than any one of us, please, come to a sacred fire and discover what has been forgotten.
Lawrence I. Messerman