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My Firekeeper and I


By J. Delaney-HowePublished 3 years ago 3 min read
My Firekeeper and I
Photo by Francisco Perez Carrasco on Unsplash

We have a great thing, my fire-keeper and I. He knows the things that will speak to my soul. Like how I love to sit by the fire and how he listens to my ideas as I ramble. The fire he keeps, and tends to so diligently, as if he was created for this very job, keeps me warm and sets my creativity ablaze. On a windy fall night, it is next to the golden glow that I have my best ideas, thoughts, and plans for new creations. It is within the circle of warmth my fire-keeper and I have discussions about big things. Like how awesome it is to be sitting by the fire on a crisp night, after our daily work is done, and keep vigil with the farmer on the next hill harvesting his corn at night before a drastic weather change marks the end of Indian summer. We talk about love. We talk about death. We talk about ourselves as a couple. We talk about our dreams and where we will be in five years, ten years. We talk about growing old together and having our children and grandchildren come home for the holidays. In this circle, it is safe to speak of such fragile things. In this sanctuary, we are far away and protected from the cold realities of the world.

To watch him tend his fire is to watch a ritual or an act of worship as old as time itself. He gathers the wood as if he is searching for a lost treasure. He builds the wood into a layered pile, which makes no sense to me. To him, though, it is an engineering accomplishment as the fire starts and builds so quickly. He respects the fire and treats it as if the gift of the flame is to be protected, cherished, fed, nurtured. This particular fire consumed the cardboard boxes leftover from our move from the city. The burnt layers of the cardboard were caught up in the wind and danced across the darkness just outside the boundary of the firelight.

I smiled. For some reason, it brought me a momentary feeling of joy, as I imagined the sparks consciously fleeing from the fire, anxious to shine their own light. My fire-keeper didn't see it that way. He was genuinely concerned that an escaping spark could by accident catch something ablaze that wasn't meant to be. (Even though we are just out of a rainy fog that seemed to hover over our hill like a damp sponge). As he stood beside his fire, fire-keeping staff in one hand and his eyes focused intently on the escaping sparks, the light from the fire highlighted his features. I could see the glow on his brow line, the shadow his stubble cast into the orange glow on his cheekbone, and the straight line his shoulders make. Although no threat was present, I felt safe. I felt at ease. I felt like my fire-keeper would protect me and keep me safe, just as he does his sacred fire.

As the light from a thousand stars fades into the purple-gray clouds rolling in, the fire is no more than pumpkin orange coals, and occasional flames flare up. Big things were discussed during this fire. As we readied ourselves to settle for the night, the farmer was done with his daily work on the other hill. My fire-keeper and I retreat to our bed for the night, and all is well in our world. And after tomorrow's work is done, we will meet in the same place, my fire-keeper and I. And while he keeps watch and tends the fire that feeds my soul, I will create and dream big.


About the Creator

J. Delaney-Howe

Bipolar poet. Father. Grandfather. Husband. Gay man. I write poetry, prose, some fiction and a good bit about family. Thank you for stopping by.

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Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (8)

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  • Sandra Tena Cole2 months ago

    So beautiful! I could feel the warmth all the way here x

  • ROCK 3 months ago

    One of the best pieces I have read tbh, period.

  • Christian Bass4 months ago

    tbh I am speechless. Simply great writing!

  • Test4 months ago

    This was so beautiful, like a meditation. It's so poetic I'd love to see it performed. Idk if you do any reading but this would be a truly excellent one to perform.

  • Cendrine Marrouat8 months ago

    Very poetic and descriptive. I felt as though I was with you. It was almost a mystical experience!

  • Judey Kalchik 8 months ago

    Thanks for posting this today- I get to read it again and this time leave you a comment! Love this story of protection, love, and communication.

  • This is so beautifully tender & sweet. Captivating, inviting & safe with one another.

  • Rick Henry Christopher about a year ago

    This is really very nicely written. I enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

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