• Michael Remke

Bursts of Fire Ignite Passion


Warm desert sands wrap around my toes. Bands of beauty sink around my feet and pull me to the Earth, bringing me to a state of constant rebirth. The breeze takes my mind and sets me free. Not a single tree to catch my thoughts and delicate flowers stand beside me. On this day in the fragile desert, I am tending to an ancient relationship. Today I am also awaiting the arrival of a newly started, powerful and beautiful loving being, a being with whom I have an ever growing romance. The Mojave desert is new to my eyes, but ancient to my mind. My relationship with this place is balanced with understanding, quickly learning who lives here helps the relationship develop smoothly. A few hundred miles away, a human who is new to me is narrowing the distance between us. Our hearts close, even when space between us is great. Our relationship is bound by love, much like my relationship with the mountains. Our relationship reminds me that borrowing from Earth to live is filled with meaning and purpose.

When I fell in Love with the Mountains I learned how to develop and maintain relationships with beings much more powerful than I, balancing respect and sensitivity. When I fell in love with the forests I learned how to appreciate complexities and adjust my relationship as changes in forest structure revolutionized the environment. When I fell in love with the desert, I grew to use kindness and awareness to tend relationships delicate and fragile in nature. I am a man of Love, a man of respect who is tied to Earth in a complex tangle of relationships, each equally important. My wild nature brings me close to all, understanding the bridge between life and death. My wild nature has kept me away from the tamed existence of modern society, isolating me from humans. As I have reached maturity in my relationships with all that is non-human, I am finally opening my heart to a shining soul who lifts me to my highest potential. In love with the mountains, forests and deserts, I finally feel as if I am in love with a human.

On a cold, lonely fall night in the mountains of Southwestern Colorado, my passion for Earth and appeal to be part of something had drawn me to a quiet alpine stream with nothing but myself. Free of the burden of clothing and society, I felt close to home. I browsed berries along the side of the stream, stars sparkled from the heavens as the world remained dark under a new moon. My breath was visible in the cold night air, dense with gasses from my machine like body. It seemed a metaphor for death as a dark grey dissipated into blackness each time I exhaled. Dead air left my body and became one with the rest of the air mass that the mountains bathed in. My shaky hand placed another raspberry between my lips, as if I were kissing the fruits of Earth as I bridge the gap between life and death. The mountains have gifted me with sweet food and precious water. The forests have gifted me with oxygen and greenery. The desert has gifted me mystery and appreciation. What can I give back to these complex and beautiful systems that unconditionally give to me?

John Muir once said “The least I owe these mountains is a body”. A quote that echoed through my mind for years. Has the Earth fed me with gifts and blessed me with life simply so I can give my body back to her? These ideas churned darkness in my mind as I continually took from the mountains, forests and desert. Sensitive to small moments of disrespect in our relationship, the mountains reminded me how delicate their gifts of life are. During a celebration of life, I watched a dear friend become one with the mountains. A short moment of chaos made an attempt at interrupting everlasting peace as the cycles of life and death came to my eyes and the front of my mind. Was giving a body to these mountains really the reason why I am meant to occupy these mountains while consuming their gifts?

From sea to summit I roamed. I met new mountains, forests, deserts and beaches along the way. I made relationships with new beings in new places, I met new people but still felt empty and burdened by the thought of what I can give back to the Earth. My romance with Earth was starting to become confounded with plot twists as my relationships with humans felt strictly professional, and my loved ones in the deserts, forests, and mountains dominated my life as study subjects. Compelling questions to better understand Earth filled my mind, intimacy faded in and out of existence as I entered and left my office. What is the meaning of life, why I am I still consuming these gifts with little to give back?

Today, fiery red rock glows under a setting sun. Yellow Bear-claw poppies burn a vibrant yellow as my heart dances in tandem with a lone sage wren’s flapping wings. Never before have I felt so united with the Earth as bursts of fire ignite passion in my heart. Surrounded by a true landscape of desire, standing here in the valley of fire I know now why it is I am alive, I finally understand why the mountains, forests, and desert gift me with food, water, air, mystery and joy. My love for these places is exploding outward, setting wispy cirrus clouds ablaze. I remain in a mystified daze as someone dear to me inches closer. I have a desire to introduce others to this grand world. I want to bring joy to the Earth by bringing more beings to her that will learn to appreciate her beauty and explore her mysteries. I want to share the Earth’s story and welcome new shining souls to her company. I desire to pass on the respect for power to children who will grow to dance with joy, even when under pressure. What better gifts exist for the grandeur of the mountains? I want to strengthen the numbers that speak for the trees. This is the gift that the forests deserve. I want to share my sensitively and kindness for delicate things, teaching my youth how to fall in love. What more could a desert ask for?

These passionate gift ideas only became clear when I released my heart to someone so capable of helping me imagine them. Being in love with the mountains, forests and desert fill my life with beauty and unconditional love, but fail to provide the companionship of a soul like enough to help me give back to the Earth. With the love of another soul, my love is elevated above the clouds and beyond the stars. With the partnership of a beautiful human, my passion is ignited by bursts of fire.


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