“We are more moth than we know: small, frustrated, capable of only tickling a world that we wish would feel our heft. We share that attraction towards the brightest object in our field of view, an equal fascination with candles and conflagrations. We sense the danger, but we can’t look away. In fact we are drawn to circle it endlessly, getting closer and closer until it consumes us. Even when we think the sky might be falling, we stay to watch. It is elemental to us, this alertness, this panicked, flitting attention.

“Fire is the shadow side of enchantment, the dark, gleaming sorcery from which we can’t tear our gaze. It shows us the wild danger that still resides in nature, the power it retains to devour and destroy. It is impolite, contagious, capable of catching from house to house while we stand helpless. It licks our palms like a moth in cupped hands.

“We have not understood this earth’s full potency until we have recognized fire.

“Too often, we have allowed ourselves to believe that we can life whole lives in the absence of suffering. We are told that uniform happiness is the only desirable experience. But this in itself is a disenchantment. Fire brings us back into contact with the cycle of life, with the limits of our control, and with the full spectrum of human feeling. It teaches us hard lessons and burns through our fragile illusions. Without it, we are living only a surface existence, a shallow terrain. We must assimilate fire to become whole again.”