The wind. Whispering… Telling all in breathless silence. But you do not mind, for its cool touch remind you that you are alive. You look to the horizon, once washed with colours so beautiful. Hues of blues, purples, pinks and reds so pure, you yearn for your paint and canvas. But the now darkened sky has a new beauty, one of ink and glitter.
You look back to the centre of your circle, the fire, the heart of this gathering. Sizzles down to just embers. The group is getting restless, the cold inches further and further, the fire to weak to fight back.
It needs your attention.
So, you plod of into that inky night to find food, not for yourself or the gathered few. But for the fire.
You must be careful in your selection. For the heart is a fickle, as it is vital. Small pieces are necessary, easy energy, easy to carry. But you know you will need to bring larger pieces back too, they last longer, hold in heat. With arms loaded, you begin your trek back to the fading heart.
As you step into the ring of light, a feeble attempt from the dying flames. You see the faces of your group, their features masked in shadows. Are they gazing off in contemplation? Are they enjoying the silence? Are they asleep? Oh, the things that the darkness hides…
But questions beg answers, and answers in their own way bring light. So, let there be light! You feed the fire. Depositing your offerings into the bed of embers. At first it seems your choices were wrong. Too much smoke. The embers are going out. So, you kneel, to analyze, to rearrange. A few embers hold on, as if spurred on by your gaze. You take a deep breath, a careful puff of air.
They sputter and flicker, but they take hold!
Voracious, they engulf your offerings. Heat builds. Light grows. The flames dance.
A dance so beautiful, so powerful, so all consuming, it captivates the mind. One by one the group is mesmerized. Lost in the symphony, the flames the star. The flames sizzle and crackle. Its like music, crystal clear against the backdrop of the silent night. The smoke rising, lazily disappearing into the darkness like a dream upon waking… Was it ever even there?
As the gathered few feel the heat in their bones. The conversation as if given new life. Begins again. With the darkness at your back blocking out all distraction, blanketing you in a safeness, understood only by the present few. You tell stories, you share pain, you wonder, and you dream. But eventually the flames meet the one enemy it cannot beat. Eyes become heavy; yawns begin slip into the stories. Sleep calls.
As the gathered few begin to disappear into the darkness one by one. Off to find their own peace in the land of dreams. You linger. The last of the dying embers flicker. The urge to feed the embers, to nurture it back to it magnificent glory, nags at your mind. Is it because you enjoy creating and controlling something so uncontrollable? Or is it because you fear the dark?
Are you afraid of being alone in the dark?
Why are you asking yourself this? The darkness asks.
As the last ember dies, the weight presses down on you.
What’s the real question? I ask.
Are you afraid of being alone?
You blink. Taken back. “Isn’t everyone?” You reply.
That’s not an answer.
You gaze into the nothingness of the night. Answers are found in light are they not? How are you supposed to find answers in the night? But the night has no answers. It just begs the question.
Are you afraid of being alone? Are you afraid of being alone? Are you afraid of being alone? Are you afraid of being alone? Are you afraid of being alone? Are you afraid of being alone? Are you afraid of being alone? Are you afraid of being alone? Are you afraid of being alone? Are you afraid of being alone?
What does one have in the darkness? When you take away all the noise. The colours, the people. What is left??
The answer is in you.
You take a deep breath; you look to your own fire deep inside. Forever burning, it may flicker, it may falter, but it will never go out. There the answer has been all this time.
Are you afraid of being alone?
“Yes, but I won’t let that stop me.”