B e i n g C o o k e d b y t h e F i r e
Too much is said about triumph, about the overcoming and rising up like a phoenix from heroic flames. What about the longest part of the story where you are being cooked by the fire and, while the things you love are being burned down to ashes, you are all the way left behind by the world.
In the old way, you would have heard about what makes a journey as odyssey from your elders. You would know that you come from a long line of survivors. You would never get anywhere quickly for all the listening you would be expected to do, and your food would would always go cold for the long prayers that are owed to your ancestor’s endurance.
And eventually you would come to know these stories by heart because they will wriggle down into your bones and take life in the landscape around you — in the valleys and the lakes, and the mountains.
And when your time comes, as it does for all of us — to be cooked — you would know that you are not the first to be chosen by the fire and it will hurt for as long as it takes, and the only way through is with your heroics humbled.
They say that after you lose something precious, the earth absorbs your grief and then, moist with suffering, new things begin to grow in your people’s likeness.
excerpt (c) Toko-pa Turner 2014