B r e a t h i n g S p a c e .

As I embark on a four-month sabbatical (July 1-October 31, 2020 DV), I find this poem inspiring me in the sense that the time taken off–and what a time not to engage!–will be worth it. For even fire needs breathing space to be more of what it is meant to be: fiery!

What causes fire to be even more fiery may be counterintuitive! (Photo credit: Judy Brown)



What makes a fire burn

is space between the logs,

a breathing space.

Too much of a good thing,

too many logs

packed in too tight

can douse the flames

almost as surely

as a pail of water would.

So building fires

requires attention

to the spaces in between,

as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build

open spaces

in the same way

we have learned

to pile on the logs,

then we can come to see how

it is fuel, and absence of the fuel

together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log

lightly from time to time.

A fire


simply because the space is there,

with openings

in which the flame

that knows just how it wants to burn

can find its way.


Judy Brown, from ‘The Sea Accepts All Rivers’



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