This weekend we had some errands to run, but decided to go to a local park to have a picnic to break up the day. It was a gorgeous weekend except for the short 30 minutes we were at the park, then it got bitterly cold.
Some generous stranger had lit a fire in a bluestone shelter and we warmed ourselves there before we headed out. The kids were in fire pit bliss, gathering sticks and throwing them in. Until, that is, as if in a slow motion video, Siah reaches down to pick up the glowing, rock-like charcoal briquette to toss in. We scurry yelling, “No Siah, Drop it, Si, DROP IT!!!” . . .where’s the water?. . .did we bring ice?. . .there’s the water fountain!!. . .RUN. . .force soft, pudgy hand under water. . .talk soothingly. . .explain to inquiring strangers. . .cuddle and rock. . .wipe away the tear forming in my eye. . .calm down.
One moment we are enjoying the reprieve from our busy morning, feeling so grateful for the warmth and wondering at the creation putting on its show all around us. . .the next moment we are feeling regret for not educating better, guilty for not watching more carefully, and painfully sorry we can’t take back that split second. An hour and a half later we remember that they make a medicine to put on that would make everything better. . .duh. . . and after some cradling and Tylenol we have all settled into a holding pattern.
Fire is altogether essential for survival, especially where we live, but as my sweet one found the hard way its got a dark side. Beautiful and dangerous, warm and deadly.
**Photo: Waterbowl with Eternal Flame, Elena Columbo. My dad just alerted me to her work. Amazing stuff.