When I look into a fire... I feel hypnotize.

The very first time that I saw a fire I'm not too ashamed to tell you that I didn't even know what it was. My first guess was that it was food. A dancing tidbit. A snack, leaping up and down, tempting my snappy jaws. It turns out that I was wrong about that. I found out that day that fire is not just another tempting grasshopper that tastes sickly sweet when you crunch down on it, and eat it, then look for more grasshoppers. Fire is a hot thing that makes your hairs melt. Smell that stench? Just one thing you can thank fire for.

"All things, oh priests, are on fire," the Buddha said in his famous Fire Sermon. "The eye is on fire; forms are on fire; eye-consciousness is on fire." This really resonates with me because of the time my friend Russell dared me to put my eye in a fire to see if I could find if there was any food hiding underneath the fire. At that point I had already established for myself that fire was not food. But what about below the fire? What about inside the fire? You have to think about things smartly or you never go anywhere in this world. You won't get to the inside of things where the action is. Pineapples are tough on the outside, but when you get inside they have something in there that some people like to eat. Not me personally, but this is where my thought process was. I was thinking in a system way.

Not to dwell on what Russell did or did not promise me I would find at the bottom of the flames, in terms of specific brands of bologna meat, I will simply say that fire is not a hiding place for food as far as I know so far. I don't go around ruling things out wholesale, though. I don't make blanket statements. You know this, brother! You know me! It's me!

After a while on the back porch the other night I get to thinking. Sitting on the one rug shaped like an oval, putting my hairs onto it to form a fine soft mat, thinking deeply and occasionally batting my eyes seductively but really it's because sometimes my eyelashes start sticking together if I don't move my head for a while. And I think to myself: if you think fire is great, imagine if you went right up to one of them volcanoes. Imagine lumbering foot by foot up the fire mountain's sloped and craggy side, bits of gravel harshly scouring your low-hanging belly as you ventured ever closer to its blazing maw. When you finally get to volcano's lip, you gaze down into the bubbling magma below.

What do you even do then? Just sit there and let those fumes go right up your snout? Descend into the gaping hole through some kind of pulley system, a harness digging rudely into your leg skin folds? No thank you sir. Give me an Oscar Mayer frank instead of that. The world's wonders come in all flavors. I like flavor of Oscar Mayer, yellow package, you find it on the ground sometimes.

[Image by Jim Cooke]