Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Thermal Runaway

Thermal Runaway: A situation where an increase in temperature changes the conditions in a way that causes a further increase in temperature leading to a destructive result. It is a kind of positive feedback. -- Wikipedia

I'm on a roll
I'm on a roll, this time
I feel my luck could change

-- Radiohead

Sometimes starting over is as easy as burning the past. And not as a way to sweep dust and ashes under the proverbial rug, but as a way to reclaim the phoenix. I opened the box and sat with letters written on so many pages of virgin paper that a staunch environmentalist would be required by her own oath and code to begin protest outside my door. I watched the postmarks progress. Almost twenty years of a life (lives) documented on paper. Handwritten. Typewritten. Ink smeared across the page. I read until my heart was full. I read until the letters began to dance around the page and no longer formed words. I lit the match.

Sometimes burning the past isn't as easy as starting over. Especially when a storm takes hold on what should be still, almost-summertime weather. The wind began with a whisper and increased exponentially. It reminded me that a life cannot be un-lived or re-lived. It reminded me that I burn the pages to remember. And to be cleansed. I want to be reborn full grown. I want to wash the bitter taste from my mouth. I want to let go of my attachment. I want the chains to soften and fall away.

I gave the matches to the wind and continued my efforts. I held each page over a flame provided by Q. I tossed the fragments one by one into a glazed ceramic planter until the words became smoke. I inhaled deeply. The fire grew and I was surrounded in the thick air. The planter shattered and a piece hit me in the leg. I am quiet. And listening.