The world is on fire, again. As I type this blog post, I’m separated from a murky, smoke-filled valley by some sticks, panes of glass and sheetrock. What a lousy way to celebrate the commencment of the 90th season of America’s favorite gladiator sport. (No, not Pyramid or Murder Ball. I’m talking about the NFL.)
Fire season is upon us. This is the time of the year when I’m most likely to languish in grim thoughts of Armageddon and cast my arms toward the fiery red ball in the sky while brimming with despair. So why should this year be any different?
Then I realized, fire itself gets to the heart of it. The way I see it, two things (maybe not just two things) set me apart from a guppy in a bowl or a dog on a leash or an extremely dumb and uncoordinated alien with a probe. The first is fire.
King among all bipedal hominids, I can burn stuff. While a few of us might be combustion challenged, the majority of human kind stands apart from all other creatures by the single fact that we can start fires, and most of the time constructively harness fires.
The second thing that sets us apart is creation, or creativity. Pardon me while I get sorta Bibly or Biblish on you. But I tend to see creativity as a manner of reflecting our creator. I believe in a creative God who has endowed his ordained caretakers of creation with the same creative lust. Otherwise we’d never be able to understand his passion.
While fire can be good (ie. bratwurst) and fire can be bad (ie. melted flesh), it is always by nature consumptive. Fire consumes. I can’t help but wonder if this basic fact lingers behind such concepts as “the fires of hell.” But anyway, without consumption fire ceases to exist.
On the other hand, creativity produces. Creation can be bad (ie. reality T.V.) or creation can be good (ie. The Simpsons), but by nature it always creates. Creativity is about production.
So there you have it. The two things that set me apart from an animated, super-intelligent turd are the abilities to consume and produce–two opposite forces continually battling within me, but both necessary. I think the reason I get so moody this time of year is that consumption seems to have run amok as creation goes up in flames.
But then the whole cycle of life thing makes me stop and wonder. Maybe it’s human creation that has run amok. Maybe our form of civilization has gone reality T.V. rather than Simpsons, and the raging fires are only consumption trying to balance the scales.[divider]
Then again, maybe consumption has disguised itself these days as production (ie. spending your way out of recession) and the fires of hell are truly licking at my window. Oh well.