I’m not a good meditator, when it comes to closing eyes and focusing on the breath and clearing the busyness of my mind. I get restless, I get bored, and even if I have what I might call a “good meditative session” I don’t notice any positive aftereffects. But put me in front of my fire, close to the heat, and I’ll watch the flames perform. Where will the tongues will flicker next and which piece of wood will catch and my face is raked with heat and my hair hot and there are sounds too, a snap and a sizzle, I absorb them, I embrace them. The flames form and falter. There is always some dancing and also some pushing and shoving among them. Now there’s a conflict going on, a story. Which fork of fire can burn the brightest or with the most flair, which dies out, and I’ll watch, mesmerized, so close the heat is like a blast furnace, watching and thinking of nothing else and this too is meditation, except for the part about my eyebrows getting singed.