25 April 2010

Campfire

White man make big fire, sit far away; 
Red man make little fire, sit very close.
-O. Mistretta


Last night after roasting marshmallows with the kids over a campfire and then sending them up to bed, I pulled up a chair and threw a hearty log on the embers to stoke up the blaze.

Of course I thought back over all the many times I'd done exactly the same thing; on backpacking trips through the Sierras with my cousins; at the beach with friends; at college parties. All with one noticeable difference - this time I was alone.

I wasn't exactly pining for company, but I began thinking, "Oh, it'd be nice to be with my buds right now, crack open some cold beers, tell stories and laugh at jokes, commiserate about life's ups and downs. Then, "If I could invite anyone, living or dead, to join me around my fire, right now, who would it be?"

With perhaps an over-exaggerated sense of my own influence over things geo-political, religious or cultural, I called up images of Gandhi, Obama, the Buddha, Mozart and Beethoven.

Here they all were then, in front of me, warming their open palms against the crackling blaze. This was my big chance to ask (or tell) them anything I wanted. And do you know what? My mind was so completely void of anything even remotely intelligent to say that I abandoned the whole idea.

But then, would it be such a bad thing to share a moment of silence with someone?

It wasn't until this morning I thought of a cousin who died before I could say good-bye or 'I love you' one last time. As far as I'm concerned, he has a standing invitation to join me around any campfire (a little one of course) for the next hundred years.

What about you? Who you would invite to your campfire, and why?

If you feel like it, leave a message here. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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