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Monday Photo Meditation: Fires of the Heart


The mercury reads near sixty.

The air is bitter cold.

Middle of a day awash in golden sunlight, and fires blaze in both woodstoves.

Winter never really showed her face this year; the song playing softly in the background about drought could apply as literally to life here as it does to the singer’s love. We have skipped the snow and the worst of the cold, the world is spinning straight for spring.

And spring is here, no question. The winds alone are proof of that: Where out the window should be blowing snow, instead dry golden grass and whirls and whorls of dust dance past.

But the winds, building in strength and intensity, are still insufficient to drive out the cold. Spring may have arrived in defiance of sun position and calendar and groundhog alike, but no one would call this day warm.

For that, we need fire.

Fire is a fitting metaphor for this time of year anyway. It is, after all, just over a week until Valentine’s Day, the day the dominant culture dedicates ostensibly to love and lovers. Commercial it may be, but its motifs speak to another kind of fire, the kind that warms body and soul alike as it wards off the February chill: the fires of the heart.

It’s a season for romantic love, of course, but anyone who has ever been in love knows its capacity to set the whole world aflame. Love — indeed, of most sorts — brings warmth on the coldest days, even if only by virtue of its powers of distraction. But love that leads to lives bound together also tends to produce flames of a more practical sort, those of hearth and home that ensure each other’s survival, well-being, happiness.

Right now, the dogs occupy space in front of the fires. Raven in particular dislikes the wind; he has never fully recovered from nearly freezing during his first abandoned year of life before he found us. He’s wise; no creature should be out in this wind.

Far better to be in front of a beautiful blazing fire, that of the hearth, and that of the heart.

~ Aji









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