Friday, February 19, 2010

Red hearts and fire

The Langkloof has been burning. We, here in Twee Riviere have been spared the fires this time. Anyway, the mountain is still scorched from the fires last year, when the flames licked at many a back door. I have heard of much suffering and loss, with apple trees ablaze as the fires swooped with the wind and devoured whole orchards.

There was a day when the town was wreathed in smoke. It imitated clouds, showering us with flakes of ash. There has still been no rain, and everywhere the ground is bleached with a brittle dryness. Many mountains have been stripped down to a skin of blackness.

Driving to Kareedouw the other day the grass was, in many places, burnt up to the road, perhaps the fire was caused by a carelessly tossed cigarette. Maybe the same thoughtlessness caused a couple of houses here in town to be ringed by fire. A storehouse was burnt down ( someones home I believe). Looking at it, set me thinking about things lost in the fire.

At the same time as the fires were raging, preparations were being made for a visit from Valentine. One school classroom was filled with imitation red roses and little red hearts. There was a Valentines ball planned for the end of the week. The idea of LOVE was burning. My son was fleeing. He likes a good dance, but did not want to be singed by any flames of passion.

Because passion was, indeed, flaring in many a young heart. Oh how love burns when you are young, maybe fifteen. It sears through you like fire on dry grass. I suspect that there are a few young hearts quite burnt out, because Valentine has come and gone and remained illusive. Wrapped in cellophane, discarded hearts and red roses, are all that remain. I thought I loved someone when I was sixteen. I can still feel the depths of that despair when that holiday was over, and he went back to his city and me to mine... Nothing like it ever since, although I have loved and lost somewhat since, has ever been as bruising.
Oh that tender heart, that offered apple, that burnt down orchard, that sweet sixteen first love.

The flame of love is not easily put out, I thought then, last week, planning a Drama theme for Grade 12, aptly entitled 'Love Hurts.' I read quite a few scripts and all were burning , singed pages of passion. Blanche and Stanley (A Streetcar named Desire), Othello and Desdemona, the desperate characters of Mis.... Burning, burning ...
The seventeen year olds say they understand, wrestling with the scripts, and the deep. searing pain of love. I listen to their lines with an aching heart, while the smoke gathers on the horizon and drops its ash upon us.

L and I were invited to a Valentines meal in Krakeel. The fire had nearly burnt down to their back door a few days before. We had been asked to wear red, and a few lovely ladies were aflame in black and red. We were all a bit older, and surely had all been burnt by love before. We have all lost something in the fire. We toasted Valentine anyway, and tucking in, celebrated LOVE.

The Bible says...these 3 remain, faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE. God is LOVE. He made us able to love, and to burn with it.


  1. Love is blind! only years later you see all the mistakes obvious to others at the time. Bah that hope you had a nice valentines day.

    Our thought go out to those affected by the fires.

  2. Amen Michelle! How beautiful is the new growth that comes after the fire!! Always an ability to love in a new way, with deeper insight and a more tender heart to others... miss you my friend xxx