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"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

...............................................................Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, March 15, 2008



Spring’s coming to Prairie Country. You can feel it, just over the horizon in the soft breath of the wind. Hear it, in the meltwater dripping down from the roofs and the low booming from under the ice blanket of the lake. Little sprigs of green show where the snowbanks have pulled back There is a freshness to the air and the step.

But even though the days are warming, the nights are still below freezing, and the fire is a welcome companion. Crackling yellow flames flicker above the grey ash bed and embers glowing orange warm the body and the spirit.

There are all kinds of fires and they require much tending so they don’t get out of control. There’s a conflagration raging in the U.S. economy and the media dance around saying it’s so. Alarm bells are ringing loud as the fire even singes the Bear, and the economists gather.

And to a forest fire in the economy, the president brings a water pistol, half full.

Maybe he has other things on his mind. His thoughts are full of romance. How he envies the soldiers on the front lines for the romance of their duty in Afghanistan. Probably Pat Tillman and some others would have opinions on that. Does he envy, too, the soldiers on the front lines in Iraq? Bogged down in occupation? Separated from family? Serving as much as a fifth tour of duty--that we know of?

Here’s my thought on romance. It’s a dinner for two, a united family, sitting at a fireside, with candlelight. Because they choose it. Not because they can’t afford to pay their electric bill.

You have to wonder how detached this Napoleonic little Current Occupant is from reality, and the people he leads, and his own soul.

Fires burn in people these days, the demand for change fills the belly that hungers for democracy again, for the liberties of we, the people. And small changes are beginning to take shape.

They’re coming from the people, like the good folks at firedoglake and other blogohomes and on the ground in communities where people say, enough. And strange alliances are formed, libertarians and progressives, feeding together the flames of liberty as our forefathers did generations ago.

Some say whoa, not so fast. Natural gas fires will do just fine, moving in through the pipelines, and so what if we’ve outsourced our national capacity to take care of and defend ourselves. From tyranny.

I prefer the campfire.

On beaches, in firepits, in tall timbered forests in a stone fireplace. Built on twists of paper saved for the occasion. Fed by kindling, each a tiny length of wood on its own, easily bent and snapped, but when carefully placed and tended, nurturing the flame, growing it, building it for the heavier oak that will sustain us and keep us warm and seeing beauty.

Atavistic, the flame is. We are drawn to it. Fed by it.

But it requires careful tending by each one of us. And each one of us being the kindling that sustains it.


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