Fire on the Mountain

Fire on the Mountain

The Wanderer. Success through smallness.
Perseverance brings good fortune
To the wanderer.

A week ago, we were lying outside trying to get our fill of a spectacular meteor shower, when our neighbor, Bill, phoned to say someone had reported seeing a fire on our mountain.  We ran around with flashlights in our fists and our noses in the air searching for a sign of smoke.  Eventually a handful of neighbors spontaneously gathered at the end of our long driveway, all noses pointed west.  Every once in a while there was a whiff of smoke. Nothing much, just a touch of autumn in the air.

We ventured up the hill to stand on yet another neighbor’s new wood deck and look out towards the ocean, to Bonny Doon, where a wildfire was shooting orange flames so high into the sky that you could almost feel the heat from 20 some miles away.  It was quite an image.

The fire on our mountain was a false alarm, but the fire on theirs was quite real.  That fire, known to the media as “The Lockheed Fire”, is still buring, one week later.  Though today was the first without the smell of smoke in the air, and tonight we can sleep with the windows wide open to the nightime forest sounds. Life returns to normal at our mountain top home.

“Fire on the Mountain”.  The phrase kept surfacing in moments of private thought. Then I remembered it the hexegram from “The I Ching: Book of changes”.  A book I explored decades ago when searching for some signposts to the path before me.

“Fire on the Mountain.  The Wanderer.  Success through smallness.  Perseverence brings success.”

I have a glimpse of the wisdom of this now.

It is the artists life.

A bit of inspiration, fire in the belly.  A bit of imagination, the mind wanders from idea to idea, color, content, form, function, concept.  The jumping off place. Then the work.  One step at a time. Line by line. Cut by cut. Stitch by stitch. The smallness of it.  The tedium.  The being present. The letting go.  Every moment leading to something.  Through perseverance.  Success.

Fire on the mountain.  A reminder to be grateful for what I have.  Fire on the Mountain.  A reminder that the journey of life is long, and that its course is completed with many, many small steps.

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