Dale Wisely: Fire and Forest

Fire and Forest

Count out the steps to the closest source of light.

      Mike James (d. 2023)


Think about moving through a forest,
where every tree has a story,
and the paths are worn by the footsteps
of those who came before.

Think that you are alone
because you are.
Think also that you have people
with you on the journey
because you do:
Those that have been here before.
Those you know and love
are with you. They can be with you.
They just can’t be you.

Think about moving through the forest.
On one side is the lonely dark.
On the other, light through the trees.
The air is thick with decay and growth
Because they both must be there.

Think about the path as crooked
because it is.
It meanders, circles back,
leads to unexpected clearings
with birdsong and with sunlight
which has also made it this far.

Then it takes you to a place
of what must seem
like endless night.
We all know
what is in the night.

And the path forks.
Which way do you go?
Take your time deciding because
once you start down
that path you will find …
the next fork.

Think about the trees as scarred
by ancient carvings
telling stories of past storms.
They survived. Healed over.
Scarred. But alive.
Stay alive.

Think about the forest
ahead of you
on fire.
What do you do?
You’ve turned back before.
What do you do?

Think about walking
through the fire.
How do you want this to go?
Do you want us to walk with you?
Or do you want us to wait on the other side?

Walk through the fire.
It’s the closest source of light.


–Dale Wisely | December 2023



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