A Roaring Fire Needs Space Between the Logs

This month we’ve been talking about being present in the moment of this glorious season. As my gift to you for the holidays, my last blog post for this year will be to present to you the poem “Fire,” by Judy Brown. Judy so clearly catches what we all know about the need to not do too much by overfilling our schedules. As a Boy Scout, I learned early on that to build a proper fire you must have space between the logs. Judy’s poem brought back that image vividly for me, reinforcing what I already know to be true. Enjoy!

Fire by Judy Brown
What makes a fire burn
Is space between the logs,
A breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
Too many logs
Packed in too tight
Can douse the flames
Almost as surely
As a pail of water can.

So building fires
Requires attention
To the spaces in between,
As much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
Open spaces
In the same way
We have learned
To pile on the logs.
Then we can come to see how
It is fuel, and absence of the fuel
Together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
Lightly from time to time.
A fire
Grows
Simply because the space is there
With openings
In which the flame
That knows just how it wants to burn
Can find its way.

– A Leader’s Guide to Reflective Practice (Trafford)

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