I just successfully created a bundt cake, and the house is still standing.  I believe congratulations are in order.

After all, it was only three days ago that I managed to start a fire in the microwave oven, and I have been known to accidentally set a grease fire in the toaster.

I'm not going to tell you how either of those events came to pass.

*   *   *

In Chemistry, sophomore year, our teacher walked around the room, leaving a path of some extremely flammable chemical or another, and set it alight.  A river of controlled fire snaked between our desks, lapping dangerously close to our backpacks on the floor.  One boy, the class clown, walked through it and set his sneakers on fire.  He did a little stamping dance, which smothered the flames, then promptly stepped back into the fire to recreate the experience.

*   *   *

During the first month of eighth grade, a small wildfire went up mere miles from our middle school.  We gathered at lunch on the soccer field, watching in awe as the black smoke billowed up into the clear blue sky.

Later that same year, my neighbors' house caught on fire while I was home alone.  It didn't burn down, but there was smoke coming off of the roof and about six fire trucks in the street outside.  No one knocked on my door, but I took the initiative and evacuated voluntarily, pulling my reluctant dog along with me.

*   *   *

Once, while roasting marshmallows in a wood stove, the fire popped and spat out a hot coal, which came to rest, frighteningly, in my hair.  I don't quite trust those things anymore.

*   *   *

Fire fascinates me. 

It is the perfect paradox:  bringer of life and of death.  We all come of it, we all depend on it.  Our planet began in fire and will end in fire.  Furthermore, it consumes oxygen, produces carbon dioxide, takes greedily, and destroys just about everything in its path-- making it almost a perfect metaphor for humanity.

The End

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