Bonfires are great unifiers.
Black, white. Boy, girl. City, country, suburbia.
Standing in a circle, all the many different faces turned toward the fire.
Everyone seeking warmth.
Wanting to be part of the community, the gathering.
We all want the same thing.
Fires do not exclude. They share their warmth evenly and without reservation.
Flames, listen and entertain. They comfort and calm.
I can feel the warm embrace as I stand on the cold, frozen ground.
A year has gone by, yet standing with these people in this circle erases time.
I feel the excitement of new ideas, new life paths. Some converging others parallel.
A birthday celebration is planned.
We want to extend this moment, live in it.
We are strangers, family and friends.
We have fought, laughed, and cried together.
The evening will start and end with warm embraces from both the fire and people around it.
I am both, entirely present and far, far away.
The yellows, blues and oranges pull at my attention; mesmerizing.
I can hear the happy conversation around me.
Feel the joy and comradery. The easy give and take.
A festive belly laugh and a playful elbow to the arm brings me back.
I look around the circle from face to face.
Some more familiar than others but all are content, bright and welcoming.
I smile, already engaged in conversation.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise