Metaphor – met·a·phor /ˈmedəˌfôr,ˈmedəˌfər/ noun; a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, especially something abstract.

Quite often writers will employee metaphors, in written text and verse, to make a point or statement without addressing a subject directly. In some instances the true reference is blatant and obvious. In others it is more obscure but the writer guides their audience in the desired direction. Then there are those with neither poise nor explanation and it is left entirely for the reader to define what they take away. Such is the case; for a wounded soul can often express but rarely explain its sorrow.

It begins with one flicker of flame, it may reach out and touch a multitude but it begins always with one. A thought, a concept, idea, suggestion, whichever it is irrelevant yet with little effort it comes into being.

Gather the river rock, the mortar, the brick, the cinder, an eclectic mixture of all. In the beginning it is encased within and in the end it lies beneath the stone. The circle of life is formed around an indention in the earth. It is needed as a place of birth, growth and final rest.

Shavings, shreddings, broken bits of branch and bark, a small faggot lies at the hearth. But it cannot stand alone and must be kindled properly before it truly takes its first breath. Now strike and ignite. Is the initial, residual sulfurous stench representative of the infusion of original sin? Sulfur and brimstone, trade-markings of the hell that arises, awaits and lies beyond, filled with fire; always and forever the burning evil of fire. Fire is the punishment for the evils of man but then what of the sun? A brilliant, brightly burning, life bringing fire without which we would all perish. Thus fire is life and the punishment for living it all in the same?

Blazing now, coming to its full existence and exuding warmth and comfort to those gathered round. Now it lives, it breathes, enjoy its company for no one knows how long this will last. Tend to it, feed it allow it room to grow but be wary—it can consume all.

A FINAL FLICKERThe quality of the fuel, the amount available, becomes irrelevantly relevant as it can incinerate or backdraft. It’s future fate pending on how quickly it consumes. Piled high, all of it, every last flammable item made available from initial ignition, burns big, burns bright…burns out before the chill of night has passed. Yet it draws a wider audience of revelers, it captivates numerous admirers, dancing shadows it casts—truly the literal center and life of the party.

Keep it simple, savor the warmth, keep it small, make it last till the light of dawn overshadows its meager glow. The quality of the company is less superficial. Gathered comfortably close to share the warmth and light it provides. There’s still light enough to dance.

All are different; there are no two the same. Some may burn brighter, others hotter, some longer and still they all burn. And when the heat begins to expire and the fuel is no more, unless doused or extinguished the cinders carry to completion a smoldering legacy. There is still some light, still some warmth to be found here. But only a select few will be present to share these final moments, till the last flame flickers out, and the hot coals glow dully in this present darkness. Too soon always too soon nothing will remain but ash.

There is no escaping the fire. There is no immortal inevitability to seek out. Eventually, despite brilliance or longevity, to our sorrow, all burn out and we are left with ashes and dust. And yet…as we shift and sift through, there is the occasional flicker, a small hot coal buried beneath, a bit that did not quite burn. These are left behind to memory.

Thankfully it is not often FOCUS loses one of its own, sadly on rare occasions we do. Though I only met her a few times, it was extremely flattering that she recognized and greeted me with a smile on those few precious occasions. This article is dedicated to Vickie Pace and the small hot coal that burns forever in my heart and memory.

I welcome almost all questions and comments via FOCUS, or email me at [email protected] or you can FRIEND me on Facebook under Saw’s Brood!

Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya!