Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Fire Song

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

I have walked among the sage, brushing
it with my palms and wafting into my nostrils
the scent that lingers in the cup of my hands.
You don’t forget this. Not the circumstances,
not the place. Explain this to me.

I’ve never seen a sage grouse dance. I’ve
heard tell that it’s like watching a feathered
dervish making his way between the worlds.
A spiral up. A spiral down. I believe that’s possible.

When I was a little girl, I’d sing a nursery rhyme
to ladybugs. Do you know it?

“Ladybug, ladybug fly away home. Your
house is on fire…”

People thought I did it because I like ladybugs,
and I do. But that wasn’t it.

Have you stopped to wonder why certain plants
will come all the way across the world to ask
you what you love?

That was it.

That moment when a ladybug must stop
everything she is doing to save her home,
to save her children.

Will she?

“Ladybug, ladybug.”

Do you care enough to go home?

If you listen closely, you can hear those weeds
out there singing the same song, the fire crackling.

“The sage?” They ask.

“The sage-grouse?” They ask.

So often, I’ve found answers to adult conversations
in the memories of my childhood.

“What do you care enough about to 
stop everything for?”

“The sage?” They ask.

“The sage-grouse?” They ask.

There have been a lot of fires recently.

“The sage?” They ask.

“The sage-grouse?” They ask.
Large areas going up in smoke.

How many of us remember that this is our home?

How many of us will remember that this is our home?

I love the sagebrush and the sage-grouse. I want 
to dwell on the scent of sage again.  I want to see 
that dance. I want to be close enough for dust 
disturbed by bird feet to settle on my boots and jeans.

I hear the song of the fire.

I want to go home.

© 2015/Jamie K. Reaser
For the participants in the Western Invasive Weed Summit
Boise, Idaho, November 2015

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