Chapter Seven

It was March. The brittle cold of winter waned off the western shores. Fog lay over the valley; a crisp layer of frost that blanketed the Avenue softened, lush green forested growth in steady bloom. The fire was coming closer. We were merging. Magnetism of the elements inadvertently colliding against all odds. Fire and ice rushing toward each other in full ferocity: a battle like no other. The world paused in reflection. Time stood still as the miles shredded away. Ice on hot rubber, fire in the frozen sky.

With each mile I could feel the last bits of ice fall away behind me, left forgotten on the grape-field flats of Napa Valley. The burning rubber under my feet, the two hundred and ten degree heat constantly spinning at twenty-five hundred revolutions per minute. My head dripping wet, pools of ice lukewarm on the sides of my shirt. Upon arrival my feet burned, tingling numb with the icy hot transition.

I saw the dark amber light out of the corner of my eye. Burning bright, hot, delicately dancing around the throng. Soft from heat my stiffed joints loosened; I lurched toward the flame, passion fueling my every step. I caught the flame, wrapping her around myself, engulfed in the madness of attraction.

It is hard to describe the moment while encapsulated : the flames scorched high up into the troposphere, twisting, turning in and out of itself. Great geysers burst inside the flame, like Old Faithful, steaming, sputtering, flowing with such intensity.

The flame turned blue, as if intentionally derated during the realized reduction of oxygen from melted ice. The water cooled the flame ever so slightly to maintain the most efficient burn. The ice was gone. The erratic flame turned stable. Water and fire now coexisting as an inseparable element. A cosmic natural occurrence forged by Mother Nature.’

We were an unstoppable reckoning force. Charged elements of atoms we split and divided, merged and produced an abundance of energy. The Earth shook in our wake, watching in awe as Nature unraveled our internal wild beasts.

Together we burned our pasts and drown out the ever-present thoughts of tomorrow. Rapidly we tore through the landscape, zigzagging back and forth a continent, forever refraining from the hamster wheel or the hermit crawl. Undeniable determinability to descend from deception and drain disposition. Together our blue flame tangled in and around each other. We consumed the Earth for our love.

I began to see the world with another set of eyes. Transfixed, my gaze upon her and hers upon mine I saw a universe inside myself that I never knew was there. Steel blue eyes, like the flame inside my heart. Filled with passion, filled with desire. Her eyes were like a flooded river. Sedimentary colors mixed with swirling hues, cascading over falls and plunging down the mountain. Her eyes took me downstream; I followed the flow of her movements, stuck in the vortex of her flooded love. She burned blue but in those eyes I saw a river that desperately desired the adventurous rafter, willing to risk it all in the attempt to follow her course.

As I waded into the depths of her river I watched as the shores were scorched in flame. I, too burned brilliantly while flowing into the stream. There are only two ways to the heart of this journey, and both mean to flow. I can take the river, and flow gracefully along her rapids, tearing through the landscape, carving gorges with love. Or I can exit the water and remain on the shore, engulfing myself in the fire of passion. Both flames wrapping in and out of each other, tearing through the landscape. Never seizing, never dying. Never taking notice to anything else around us. Just relentless love, unbound to trickle down theory.

But wait, there’s more. What is left to burn when we burn everything? What is left to flow when we followed every trickling stream into every river and swam every ocean? The passion must never die, the free flowing eccentricities must never be vanquished by drought, or plague. We have managed to defy humanity, to entice Mother Nature with our love. But like everything in history we must evolve even more. Fire and water now coexist as an inseparable element, but we are still two different elements, which in turn keep us bound to the Earth.

There must be another state in which we can grow, expand and discover. We danced around the edges of the San Juan, both running from water to fire, and then fire to water until we all but reached town. From the Weminuche to town we playfully, yet erratically fought to conquer ourselves, our limited bounds by gravity. Our wild needs introduced to a wild environment. The Earth too tame for our spirit.

Chapter Eight