“Which one of you assholes almost got me punched by the angry guy on the Fremont Bridge?!”
I was already burned up and we hadn’t even gotten to the conflagration.
My grouchy old man rancor at the narrow escape from a fist to the face and at the frantic pace the piney pelaton had hightailed it towards the beach was a furnace within me and I couldn’t wait to scream a furious inquiry to the assembled masses who I hoped would be milling about at the traditional 7-11 stop on the way.
But there was only a handful of shoppers in the little parking lot one of which, fortunately, was tehSchkott, who, in an unprecedented role reversal, talked me down from the livid ledge on which I stood with the thoughtful observation that whoever it was who bumped the outraged hobo mid-span was probably right not to stop because, shit, that guy was dangerous.
Mollified, I continued on, and only felt my ire rise momentarily upon nearing the shore and seeing sparks already climbing skyward in the distance, but when I approached the circle and saw how much fuel was still remaining, I cooled down plenty sufficiently to be able to fully embrace the heat of all those Christmas memories returning their carbon to the atmosphere and the warmth of so many familiar faces lit by the glow.
Our traditional head pyromaniac, waylaid by the weather up North, wasn’t able to be there, but was there really—further evidence, for the Vedanta perspective the Angry Hippy and I were reflecting upon: that our individual selves are really the Universal Self, each lick of flame actually the fire, if you will.
I kept thinking about that scene in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, where Tom gets to observe his own funeral; similarly, having “passed the torch;” (almost literally); another adventurous rascal could see how brightly his influence burns in his absence.
And who could be angry at that?