Shannon Beer, acrylic painting, 20"x18"
I have seen your winds bend the steel rods men laid for rebuilding the Windy River bridge. I
didn’t know you then, when you blew your top, but I heard the men, and their fear, as the skies
darkened and the temperature dropped. We hid behind our masks, wondering when you would
descend upon our town, wondering when we too would be carried or buried away. Fear has a
funny way of playing tricks on the mind, in a split second or a microscopic cell. I came to you
filled with talk. So much talk. Maybe you, too, grew tired of all the talk. Too much talk. You see I
had this fear of disappearing from this world with the fire still hiding inside. I held to my staff
and walked around your feet for days, for weeks, for years. You puffed on your pipe, like you’d
done before, not saying a word. And it was then, maybe, I began to listen. Listening is like
climbing, and thinking you’re close to the top, only to discover you’re not. Only to discover
you’d been thinking about the top, and not listening at all. Round and round I circled your
smoking pipe, not knowing if I could listen. If I could surrender the fear, and listen. If I, too,
could bear witness to the holy fire rising from within.
Written by Kara Maria Stricker, Copyright 2020