Naked and spectacular

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The sacred fire

The fire is sacred and all us humans are responsible for it.  Some feel the need to protect the fire with rules, others prefer anarchy and the acknowledgment of an inherent respect.  But the humans know.  After food circle they gather in the warmth around the fire.  They stare into its flickering flames and don't even notice how silent their usually chattering minds have become.  They stare in silence or share intense conversations or dance joyfully with drums and didgeridoos.  The humans love their fire.

When the humans sense the coming of heavy rain, via meteorological reports, they take immediate action.  A dozen young men shed their clothes, carefully placing them beneath shelter and run naked together up the hill where the trees are free to grow.  They find the heaviest and most solid fallen logs and haul them onto collective shoulders.  They drag dead trees down the hill, damaging more regrowth than they would ever admit to.  As the rain starts to fall on their naked sweating scratched skin and the dry earth they throw more and more wood onto the fire and watch it spread outwards and upwards.  They watch the heat-filled pile of hot coals build into quite an intense mound and quickly ignite any new log that is thrown upon them.  As the rain grows heavier the fire crackles and hisses and the water quickly evaporates but the fire is strong and resilient.

The humans gather in the heavy pouring rain around the fire.  They shed their superfluous clothes despite the cold of the rain.  They dance and they drum with more ecstasy than usual.  They feel a hysterical powerful energy surge through their bodies from the earth or from the fire or from the rain they are trampling into mud beneath their feet.  They turn their heads up the sky and scream and howl at the thick wet clouds.  Their joy has expanded beyond any usually conceivable bounds and can only really be described as an intense exhilaration about life itself.  How wonderful and beautiful it is to be alive and experience this world with such immediacy and unrestrained physicality.  They are connected but they are so completely contained within their own bodies.  They stare at each other with an unacknowledged and complete acceptance and they stare at the fire without a single thought.

The rain gathers in puddles around the fire pit and a single human runs for a spade.  He steps closer to the fire than is natural to remove the soaking soil and create a trench for the water to gather in.  Despite the cold rain the fire scorches his flesh and so he slaps handfuls of mud onto his thighs and his stomach and his arms and his face.  The mud hardens and his skin is protected but still burned red in the gaps between the mud.  More mud and more rain and more heat and the exhaustion and weight of the dirt bring his body something transcendent of joy.

Kids play in the mud, piles of soil gather around the fire and naked bodies cover themselves in the ashy mud.  The trench is dug and the water gathers and draws away from the precious sacred crazy fire.  When the humans are not dancing in primitive manic natural ecstasy they stand cold on one side hot on the other, drying and wetting their bodies simultaneously in the elemental dichotomy of the moment.

The sweaty invigorated trench-digger runs down to the river to wash away his exhaustion and is followed by another beautiful young man with a vigorous healthy body.  They throw themselves into the cold moving water and scrub each others' flesh with sand, scraping the greasy mud from each others' pores and experiencing the firmness of each others' muscles and the softness of the mud-cleaned skin.  They dip in again to wash away the sand and emerge with an invigoration, immediacy and profound cleanliness that feels like birth.

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