Attending the Fire

While all the interns left at 6am, I did not start work till 1pm today. I was working solo at basecamp today because the interns were on their way to help pick up the group from Chicago because their trip was ending that day. As I walked into Al’s office, she was nowhere to be found. JP was in his office so he let me know the plan. He told me that Al would most likely be near the sweat lodge fire. I found her by the fire pit and we began work. My main task for the day was to help tend the fire and help work the Sweat Lodge today. I started by collecting kindle to be used to start the fire. Afterwards, I walked to a water hose, connected a long hose to it, and walked it down to the fire pit. I had to water the grass around the edge of the rocks as a precaution for if a spark flew onto the grass. Al put me on fire duty all by my self which was a bit nerve-racking, but I was ready for the challenge. I began working by collecting the largest rocks I could find and throwing them into the fire either with my hands or with a shovel. At the beginning none of the rocks were very hot so they were not too hard to handle. Whenever the fire began to die down, I threw more firewood into the pit. I kept “recycling” the hot rocks in the pit so they would all heat up evenly. Once the group was ready, I brought some of the hot rocks into the lodge. As a safety precaution, I had to say “hot rocks!” every time I walked in which got very repetitive. I carried the rocks and piled them up in the center, where Doug (the sweat leader) told me to place them. Once the sweat began, I was able to relax until the group was ready for me to bring in some new hot rocks during the second round. One of the girls has asthma so she had to leave the lodge to grab her inhaler and another girl could handle the heat any longer so they both waited outside of the lodge with me until the group was done. Although the sweat lasted around 2 hours, the time flew by with me recycling the hot rocks around in the fire pit and finding little tasks to keep me occupied. Once the sweat was complete after two rounds, the group crawled out with the little energy left in them. It was nice to see how they group transitioned from being very nervous and almost resistant about completing this sweat to feeling energized and excited that they were able to experience such a powerful event with each other. The group jumped into the pond to cool off and I made my way to the Chicago group (who arrived while I was helping with the Sweat) to see what was happening. 

I ended up being on Kitchen duty today because whenever groups are present at basecamp, a home cooked meal is made. I was hoping to be able to chop up some ingredients, but they just had me cleaning dishes for the most part which was slightly disappointing, but I was happy to help. 

One thought on “Attending the Fire

  1. Melissa this post brings joy to me. I’m so glad that you are such a valuable help to this organization and I can’t wait to discuss our projects together.

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