The Bon Fire

Trees seen through the heat of the bon fire

The bon fire burned hot and quick.   The wood was old and dry.  Some had been in the basement for years.  Scraps that Harold, who used to own the house with his wife Florence, had saved.  The rest came from the dying Maple in the yard.

The tree the Ravens roost on.

Jon and I sat on chairs feeling the heat and watching it burn.  It was our ceremony to say goodbye to my mother, who died on Monday.

I told Jon some of my good memories of her.

How I brought her a bouquet of dandelions on my way home from kindergarten and she put them in a small glass on the kitchen windowsill.  How she would pull an ottoman to sit on over my crib when I had a bad dream and hold my hand through the rails until I fell asleep.  How I would splash through the puddles on the way home from school when it rained and she didn’t get angry.   She would be at the door with a towel to dry me off and say I looked like a “drowned rat” which always made me smile.  I told him how I would visit her after each  Mediation meeting when I was getting divorced.

When Jon left for a phone meeting I got a rake to move the burning wood around.  As I did, I heard the repeated two-syllable call of a raven.  I looked up and saw the raven in the distance.  It continued to call as it got closer and closer.  I looked up as it flew right over me, a silky black silhouette against the blue, blue sky.

The Raven held something in her beak, I couldn’t see what it was, but it was white and shiny.  It made me think of the book  Kathy recently sent me about the myth of the Raven bringing the sun to the people of the Earth.  It made me think of the drawing I did the day before.

As I sat at the fire, a few lines from one of  Mary Oliver’s poems came to me.  I said them out loud.

“It’s not for lack of love…but I will not carry the iron thing they carried… I will not give them the kiss of complicity, I will not give them the responsibility for my life.”

Then I just sat, watching until Jon came back.   And then we sat some more.  Quitelty or talking until the last log was smoldering in the ashes.

4 thoughts on “The Bon Fire

  1. I think it’s wonderful that you found a way to honor your multifaceted relationship with your mother and the range of feelings her death raises. There is such strength and self love in bucking tradition when that tradition not only doesn’t feed your soul but causes you hurt. I hope you keep trusting yourself in all things, but especially while experiencing the loss of a major person in your life.

  2. My mother died September 27, 2001. Thankfully, we had had a good relationship, however, she died after several years of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, so her death was a huge relief. Yet I was surprised over the next few months by waves of sadness. I had been mourning her for years, since her mind died before her body.
    I wish you peace, Maria. You had a good ceremony to tell her goodbye.

  3. What a beautiful way to reflect on the good memories and to say goodbye to your mother. I’m glad the Raven flew over with a message for you. Blessings to you as you go on this reflective journey processing it in your own special way! Hugs 🙂

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