Retreat Campfire

Neil Ellis Orts

There was a guitar, maybe three. We sang sacred and secular lyrics, all holy in our combined breath. The circle of firelight cradled us against the chill. The night air, the woods, the smoke all smelled like seeking God or at least community, the body of God. We were college students, looking to preserve faith into this new adult life. (Not everyone would.) 

One crumbled into their neighbor weeping. No one could tell whether it was heartbreak or joy. Each carries its own weight, either might cause us to buckle. Songs continued. 

A decade passed, then three, nearly four. Time scattered us across geography and ideology. Some are no longer alive. Some names are forgotten. Fleeting, fading memories remain. 

Credo: The light that holds us in its warmth cannot be underestimated. Joy and heartbreak are weights to be shared. Spirits once entwined in song cannot be disentangled. Ephemerality accumulates into eternity.

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