Imbolc was weeks ago, but it’s lesson took a while to sink in. This winter has been exceptionally hard for our family, and every time we seem to pull ourselves from the ashes another fire starts. Firefighting is exhausting, so on Imbolc I tried to find a silver lining. Were the fires guiding? Clearing? Healing? No. They were just fires. Were they a message? A lesson? An admonition? No. Still just fires. I was done.
Over the last two weeks we’ve had more fires, and forget any plans we’d made to work around them, they demanded our attention daily. All I could do was run from place to place hoping to control the damage. Still, if there was somewhere we needed to be, we were there.
At Pantheacon this past weekend there was a Brighid healing ritual I really wanted to attend, but there was another class at the same time that called to me incessantly. Could I miss it? After asking for help and healing, could I really eschew the ritual designed to do just that? I did. I cringed as I watched the doors close and lock, but I skipped it and went to the other class.
What came of that has me sitting here, in the midst of another fire, waiting two hours without anywhere else to go, for a workshop given by the same woman who ran the class I skipped ritual for, a workshop about Ireland and Journeying to the Otherworld, a workshop with a slide that told me to do the exact thing my mind has been telling me to do since Imbolc; go see Brighid. Go to Ireland. Connect. See. Feel. Sing. Summer 2017. I don’t know why. I don’t know how. All I know is yes, I’ll be there, no matter how many fires need to be put out along the way.
This year I started wearing a semi-colon bracelet from the Semicolon Project, a depression and suicide awareness project that reminds us that these fires are not period or stops, but merely pauses. I’ve thought about forcing the period a lot on the last year when the fires seemed to get too close for comfort. While part of me had hoped for some kind of respite, I know better than to expect immediate change, so I’ve made a deal with Brighid to not let the fires win; not this year.

From time to time I will be posting #AYearofHere images on my Instagram and Twitter to remind myself not only why I’m here and what I’d be missing if I weren’t, but also when things are rough, the fires I’ve survived, and how strong I’ve been to fight them.

You see, the fires are nothing special. Next Imbolc I don’t really expect less fires, because they’re a part of anyone’s life, but I do expect to have a pretty good record of how she’s stood by me fighting them and how she’s healed my spirit in between. Sometimes fires are just fires, and it’s the life we live despite them that matters most.