Matthew and I built a fire.
Downy grass nestled between two logs,
delicate twigs, the kindling assembled,
neatly layered and gently pressed,
dried branches, woven with care,
finally small then larger logs.
One match, Matt declared, would be enough.
Keenly did I watch with pride.
A million images come and go.
From the secret labyrinth
of the long forgotten past,
the hidden world rises.
A rite of passage shared,
my boy and I are companions.
The winding path retraced,
our fire is lighting the way.
Fire gives light and warmth.
It is the priestess of mystery.
It is the thread that weaves
through the tapestry of life.
Fire is the crucible of story,
the door through which all freely pass.
In its burning red depths, memories arise.
Its flames forge the steel of friendship and love.
Spirits flashed and danced in Matthew’s eyes.
The soft golden light washed his supine form.
He tended with care this beautiful creation.
Contentment reigned in the vast holy night.
I loved this time, forever engraved upon my heart.
The embers glowed and guided me,
along remembrances deepest corridors.
I am 16 years old again with a dying bird in my hand.
The bird with the broken wing,
eyed me with fatalistic suspicion.
Time is fleeting his eyes proclaimed.
His life was in my hands.
My heart had beat a young man’s passion,
that this frail delicate bird might live.
But the fire in his eyes extinguished.
My memory became his final resting place.
The dying of a wild thing is prophetic.
We are all brothers and sisters in death.
In the end only seasons remain.
But into eternity’s darkened hall
I will not pass in silence.
My fiercest manhood asserts its will.
Every fiber of my being rages against the finite.
I have a son to know and love.
A fool is the father who doesn’t build a fire with his child.
In that moment we are forever bound.
46 years ago, in a small way, I became a man.
In the firelight I told my tale.
Fire opens the treasury of love.
Fire reaches across time and space.
Glowing coals tell human history’s story.
In the fiery depths of Matthews’ memory, I will always live.