God’s burning light of genius

While our granddaughter walks a few feet, indoors, to her laptop, to attend virtual school, I remember walking a long driveway and riding the school bus 45 minutes to the nearest rural school. Eight hours later, in reverse. We each, however, have jobs to do after school.

In the fall, my job took me to the freshly harvested 400-hundred-acre potato field. The job required tumbleweeds, a pitchfork, and matches. Fire.

Southeast Washington state, where I grew up on the family farm, grows bounteous crops of tumbleweeds. Highly combustible tumbleweeds. Capable of igniting infernos especially when mixed with dry cheat grass and sagebrush, common vegetation on the west coast.

You can imagine, I was trained to apprehend fire. I don’t fear fire as much as anticipate the need for immediate action to make sure the good caused by fire outweighs the bad.

I appreciate cooked food, but I also follow Smokey the Bear’s instructions on proper fire handling. I support laws prohibiting celebratory fireworks. And it became natural to install solar panels to counterbalance climate change.

When a kid, fire was used to counterbalance the tumbleweed threats of fire and of barricading plows.

Because the weeds are round prickly conglomerates of stems that grow three to four feet in height and width, the bunches made it impossible to plow the ground. So, with pitchfork in hand, I’d walk the field, jab tumbleweeds and carry them to pile. Once the pile was fairly large, I’d strike a match and produce a bonfire.

Four hundred acres required a lot of piles.

To save matches, or rather, to save myself from getting frustrated because the match sticks kept breaking, I first built multiple piles of tumbleweeds and lite only one pile. Within half a minute the pile was in flames. I’d then jab the pitchfork into the fire and pull out a clump of burning weeds before running, carefully, with the clump to insert into the next pile to catch it on fire.

I came home smelling like smoke and with an appetite for dinner.

No longer a kid in the potato fields, today, the smell of smoke continues triggering an appetite for improved strategies to counterbalance devastations produced by fires. I keep an ear open to the genius-spirit that moves people, calmly, persistently, and solidly, to design improved strategies, despite the howling noises produced by blame and animosity.

When young, I learned to plow fire breaks around fields and houses to help reduce fire damage. It helped but plowing isn’t a cure-all, because of countless shifting variables, because of unknowns.

Unknowns exist, no matter how much human beings believe they can know or control everything. But unknowns aren’t as scary when we’re open to the genius-spirit.

Even in the face of today’s weirdness, practically mocking our controlled schedules, I see the genius-spirit moving people to develop approachable programs to fight fire damage or help children learn. It’s happening. And I can support its many forms by grabbing clumps of this enlightened genius, before leaving behind, and moving away from, my burning outgrown passions.

We read in 21st Century Science and Health: “Pay attention! Make sure that the motive for prayer doesn’t embrace the desire for human admiration and instead encourages pure sentiments. It is physical emotionalism, and not Soul, that triggers a nervous passion for God. Allow spiritual sense to guide your higher experiences, because fanaticism and self-satisfied devotion do not promote spirituality. God is not influenced by human beings. The divine ear is not an auditory nerve. The Divine is all-hearing and all-knowing Mind, recognizing and supplying our every need.”

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