Spiritfire, part one
In past years my experience of the fire circle has mostly been one of working up the courage. Working up the courage to show up, first of all. Working up the courage to sit down for each meal with a table full of strangers. Working up the courage to play my drum with them. And later, to play audibly. And still later to sit in the front row instead of hiding in the back. Maybe throw a little solo phrase in there once in a while. Even, eventually, stepping out of my relative comfort zone of drumming, and starting to join in the dance and the chant — participating, as deeply as I knew how, but all from the perspective of feeling like an outsider trying to find his way in.
Knowing all the while that that perspective was entirely self-imposed — but knowing that isn’t the same as knowing it, you know?
This time — my fourth time in five years — it seems I managed to burn through all that fear and discomfort by having what could charitably be described as a panic attack the night before the event, and (let’s be honest) on the drive to it. But then I arrived, and there’s Steve to welcome me before I’ve even parked the car, and there’s Brighthawk with her omnipresent ear-to-ear grin simultaneously playing a balophon and directing traffic, and there’s Brighid by the welcome tent and there’s John and Lisa strolling by and this is all in the first five minutes and I finally clue in that this is not a table full of strangers I’m sitting down at. These are close friends I’ve known for years and who I’ve shared life-changing experiences with, and even the ones here I don’t know are, I’ll go ahead and own the cliché, they’re the ones I don’t know yet. There’s literally nothing here to be afraid of.
Well, duh. Right? I could have figured that out three years ago and saved myself a lot of time. That’d be three years worth, I guess.
But actually a lot more, because it’s not just on the mountain that this applies. That’s something for me to work on.
[This was the easy part to write. The hard stuff I’m still working on.]