Common Good

fire AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

“What are you grateful for, Mama?” the girl asked, head bent over her slate.

“I’m grateful for fire,” the mother said.

“For fire?” the child paused, somewhat dismayed. Perhaps she thought she’d rise up to the top of gratitude instead. Perhaps because her foot, where an amber had landed and left a painful blister, was not particularly appreciative of flames. Perhaps because fire-related chores of breaking kindling and cleaning out the ashes needed doing before she could go out to play.

“Yes,” the woman smiled, one hand stirring the oats even as a foot rocked the cradle which held the girl’s new brother. “Because without fire there will be no breakfast, no tea, no warm bath. Without it there would be no hearth, no place to get out from the damp, nowhere to warm your hands. Without it there would be no pots, no pans, no knife, no shovel, no kettle, no cake, no bread.”

Speaking of the last, the woman rose to rake the coals and make room for the dutch oven before shoveling a heaping mound of glowing red atop the lid, so the sourdough loaf could bake. She could feel the girl’s eyes on her, reassessing what she’d been privileged to always take for granted. What the mother knew could not.

“It is the common that we often forget to be grateful for,” the mother added, her lilting voice directed at the infant, who’d began to fuss, as her words matched the pace of her resumed cradle rocking: “Air to breathe, water to drink, flour for bread, cloth and fleece, a garden and field, to grow our food in.

“And,” she tugged fondly on a ringlet by her daughter’s chin, “having the common things all tended to, gives us the comfort in which to appreciate the more obvious gifts we cherish … like you, and little David, and your Pa.”

“And Gwendoline,” the girl reminded, eyes flicking to the swaddled corn-doll that she liked to tend.

“And Gwendoline,” the mother grinned. She peeked at the letters on the child’s slate. “And children who do their chores, as you will need to as soon as your S and W here receive a bit of mend.”

 

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Common

 

 

28 thoughts on “Common Good

  1. You are such an evocative and fine story teller. Brava! πŸ’šβœ¨πŸ’š

    Adele Ryan McDowell, Ph.D.

    AdeleRyanMcDowell.com Adeleandthepenguin.com MakingPeacewithSuicide.com Channeledgrace.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually had that in mind, though didn’t want to refer to it … For all good things can be problematic if too much or to little: We need air, but too much wind is destructive. We need water, but too much brings flood and demise. We need company but too many is stifling. We need food but too much of it is unhealthy and wasteful. We need possessions but too many can be distracting and cause its own kinds of strife … So, like everything else, fire is not good or bad, but its reality is something to be grateful for, even if if does not mean that it needn’t have boundaries or caution around it (as the blister on the child’s foot may attest …)
      πŸ™‚
      May there be the good in all.
      Na’ama

      Like

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