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  • Pippa McKinnon

Nurturing Heart-fire


I knelt close to the pile of tinder, with flint and steel in hands. Striking for sparks, which crackled like Harry Potter's wand.

I had all the focus and determination of a first year student at Hogwarts trying their hand at a Lumos spell in week one. Only this wasn't 'week one', I have lit more open fires than I can remember.

Bending low with my head almost touching the ground, I watched to see a flame. Sending lung fulls of oxygen towards the shavings and sticks I am working hard.

I feel a tiny seed of doubt within and wondered if my spark had been enough?

Upright, I reached for the flint, showering the tinder in sparks anew, and feeding oxygen into the mix.

Small wisp's of smoke tendril skyward, there is hope mixed with doubt, as I kneel watching, feeding in Oxygen from asthmatic tired lungs, doubting my ability.

Today I am thinking, is the day that perhaps I cannot light a fire.

Just when my lungs feel like they have had enough, I am aware of a radiant ball of orange, glowing brightly in the center of my tinder sticks.

I could cry with delight!

As I relax, and allow a little time to take hold of the glow, suddenly I can feel trust and certainty, I know the flame is about to appear.

And it does. Like magic.

My heart soars, as if it where the first time I had ever built a fire.

... over was twenty years ago!

As the flame grows, sticks crackle and then with a burst of heat, my fire is burning through kindling, taking hold of bigger branches and finding its way upward.

Smoke and crackle singing the joys of campfire spirit.

I sit back on my heels and hug my arms around my knees in bliss.

Above me two buzzards circle and are joined by two more.

They directly overhead, high above in a trade of thermals and wing power.

As they head away over the hill it occurs to me that all is well, the first spark I shed today may well have been enough.

A first spark is working on catching alight, with a little time and courage and self belief it may always come good.

Even when we cannot see the flames of our fire, they are smoldering, gathering.

So important then I reflect, to remember this balance of nurture as we feed the flames of children's dreams.

As we encourage them to radiate and shower their own sparks of imagination, learning and growth. As practitioners our work is to validate, protect and allow time for them to be who they are.


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