Tuesday, August 14, 2012

my moment of fire spinning

last yule season i went on an inspiring hike along the rivanna river with my family. when we got back to the car i picked up a sturdy stick and started twirling it. tashi's eyes opened wide and i realized she had no idea i once was a majorette. 

i was not an exceptional majorette. but in 7th and 8th grade i twirled a baton, tossed it around sometimes,  made up a routine to a pat benatar song, and marched in a couple of parades.

raise your hand if you did this sort of thing when you were an adolescent: batons, flags, pom poms, line dancing and acrobatics :)

well, so anyway, as i was twirling & tossing that stick to the surprise of my daughter, it occurred to me that perhaps i could twirl a fire staff. it was a pretty big hit of inspiration. i mean, i already had the basics of twirling. it would just mean learning  how to twirl fire

so i kept that little urge in my mind, especially while watching on occasion, scintillation, the fantastic local fire troupe, and marveling at their grace and daring and skill. 

paired with my urge was a little voice that said, scary! never! you can't! that's dangerous! you have nice hair! your kids need you! impossible! you'll embarrass yourself! your skills are too limited!

and then by the luck of the planets, almost three quarters of a turn later, i had the opportunity to twirl a fire staff at a gathering.

a dear sweet mama friend of mine made sure the unlit staff landed in my hand, and after seeing me give it a few twirls, urged me to finally dip it in the white gas. 

believe me, i hemmed and hawed and made sure most of the onlookers were gone before i finally gave in. 

but i said to myself, girrrl, just go for it this time! 

i am not an x-treme person you see. and there have not been many occasions where i have really dared myself to step into my biggest fears and/or urges. like jumping off a high cliff into water? i doubt that is in my future, though it is probably one of my very biggest fears.

i am about to turn 45. it feels definitively mid life. and spinning fire? after the urge hit me last solstice, it became a thing to do before i die.

and so i had my staff dipping lesson in the matter of minutes. dip it for about three seconds. spin off the drippy excess gas in the cans. do the same on the other end. step away from the humans and give it a few more good shakes. and then stick it into the flame of the tiki torch.

unintentionally write your initial in the air

and spin. smile big. because twirling a stick that is on fire at both ends is really, really fun!

live really large and pass it behind your back! pass it from hand to hand! (but maybe get some more practice before throwing it in the air)

spin some more

and love it. completely fall in love!

experience the thrill. the grace. 

feel the amazing element of fire swooshing past: the warmth, the bright, the breeze of fire. 
feel it on your skin. in your heart.

fire as friend, not fright. 

but to be respected. care. awareness. caution. 

and some awesome adrenaline!

this was my 45th birthday present to myself! 

thank you to kate, tashi and dan for urging me on. 

when your own daughter begs you to just do it. . . well, you gotta love that!

(thanks to dan and tashi for the photos of my big moment!)

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