Light my Fire

I have very profound memories of my first experience with a bonfire. I might have been five or six, maybe even less. At that time, I didn't really see myself as an individual but more as a part of the world crafted by my parents. It was a time when Christmas gifts were one of the biggest events of the year, along with birthdays and the summer solstice celebration. My parents weren't in a healthy relationship, although they tried to hide it from kids who can feel it anyway. As a child, I didn't feel sadness or joy; I accepted everything as it was, without special evaluation or judgment. During that solstice, my parents had a disagreement again and we didn't celebrate together. I went with my dad to Mežuplejas. I was very happy to be taken along, especially because I knew my dad wouldn't put me into bed early on.

Mežuplejas holds a special place in my heart. Although I remember just the flashbacks, this place and its people shaped my understanding of what is beautiful and what is true. Mežuplejas was a house in the forest, off the grid without proper access from civilization. Alfreds and Inguna were keeping up with the place, but the house was open to other free spirits; it was a place where people created and celebrated together. Thanks to my father's visits, we later discovered Lauziņas, which were only about five kilometers away. Such places can't be found with ease.

The bonfire was special, towering above the house (of course, everything looks bigger through a child's eyes, but I was convinced that nothing like that was possible anywhere else). People, men and women, were open, smiling, and kind. I might embellish things now, as many years have passed, and my mind tends to rewrite memories. But there was a sense of freedom there, I know that—I didn't feel the restrictions of what's right or wrong, that I had encountered elsewhere within societal norms.

Last summer, I met Alfreds again, who returned from America where he had been since the mid-eighties, and from my perspective, he didn't change nor in appearance nor spirit. A month later, I found myself in a miraculous, glowing city built by the community within a week. It was a separate world where the present moment was celebrated, and colossal fire sculptures were burned, afterwards cleaning up the place as if nothing had ever happened. In a week, I'll be there again. There's a saying about connecting the dots, which I'm reminded of. I'll ignite that fire one more time. And I know that there's a little boy somewhere around there who really, really needs it. Faith in beauty.

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