Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Coal

When I have things on my mind, I like to share.  In general, I'm not much of a talker.  I prefer to listen, but I also like to free associate and go with it.  Yet, today, I wanted to share my thoughts but thought better of it.  Not because what I was going to share was deeply personal or revelatory, but because it was an idea; an idea that needed time to percolate.  Most times I like to share my ideas with my friends and family, seeking input and the like.  This time was different.
I knew it was different and the image of the coal came to mind; not the one mined for and used as a fossil fuel, worthy of a later discussion.  The coal that came to mind was the one that every primitive skills survivalist who has worked on making their own fires without a match or lighter knows intimately.  You see, when you need a fire out in the woods and there is no match or lighter to be found, you have one of a multitude of ways to get a fire going; a bow drill, hand drill, hand saw, etc.  Each of these methods uses friction to produce a coal.  It is this coal, this glowing ember that will create the fire; and without the coal, there will be no fire.  When the coal is made, your job is only part way done; that coal has to be fanned into a flame with the help of a tinder bundle (something that will catch fire) and then this "match" has to now light your fire. 
Our ideas are often like that coal.  If you blow on it too hard, it will go out.  If you don't blow on it hard enough, it will also go out.  If you are careless with it, it will go out.  If you do not prepare the tinder bundle correctly, it can go out.  And so on.  Our ideas need to be treated like this coal; it needs to be given the right conditions, the right energy, and the right circumstances in order for it to be fanned into a flame and then a fire.

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