Written while on a silent retreat in January 2023:

This morning I sat before a fire in a huge stone fireplace at St. Francis Springs.  I read bits and pieces of a book by Richard Rohr.  But often I sat gazing at the fire – being present with its hissing, spitting, and soft hum. I watched the flames embrace the logs. They seemed to soothe the once proud trees as they slowly changed the now dead wood into something else entirely – hungry yellow tongues slurping and lapping, silent blue waves lying low, red hot embers, and then soft gray ash lying warm and nearly weightless beneath the destruction and creation of fire and wood above it, stilled after its transformation, waiting patiently to drift away somewhere else with broom or wind.

I contemplate what is happening right there before my eyes – life, transition, death, an ending, and a beginning – and then considering that this same process is happening in every cell of my being and in every cell of every other living being as every single day comes and goes.

I feel the warmth of the fire’s energy on my face and the chill without it on my back. I am mesmerized, perfectly still, content.  Or that is what my mind thinks and my body feels. Yet the power of the fire reminds me that there is more going on within all things than meets the eye or registers in the knowing.

After returning home my contemplation on the process of transformation turned to rumination. I thought of all the mystical ways it happens. Sometimes transformation is as obvious as flames destroying wood. Other times it is cloaked in a cocoon. Transformation is constant and may be physical, cellular, or spiritual. Eventually, it comes to every thing and every being. Van Morrison has often spoken to my very soul through song. He penned these words a few years ago in a song titled “Transformation”:

Gonna be a transformation in your heart and soul
Gonna be a transformation, baby, now that you know
Get used to righteousness when it makes you feel whole
Gonna be a transformation, baby, down in your soul

‘Member when we were downhearted
Didn’t have nowhere to go
And the wisdom of insecurity
Just knowin’ that we know
Then something starts happenin’
Feel like you’re on a roll
Gonna be a transformation, baby
Down in your soul

But like a river keeps on wantin’ to flow
Keeps on advancing with the wisdom you know
Time has a rhythm when the love is the love
Love is forever, baby, down in your soul……


And if you want to hear him sing it/say it check out this link:

I love how Van Morrison can convey so much feeling through his words and his music. I believe it is transformative……


  1. I’m so glad I could experience a bit of the retreat right here! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. quiall says:

    I often feel the same way, mesmerized by the flames…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fire seems to have that quality. It draws us in, doesn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. catterel says:

    Thank you for giving us the lyrics – I have always liked Van Morrison’s music, but have never ever been able to understand any of the words he sings! A pity – these are meaningful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are welcome. Van Morrison is an all time favorite – quite a magician with words, I think. A real poet. You should take the time to look at his lyrics. They are powerful. I suggest: Into the Mystic, And It Stoned Me, Did Ye Get Healed?, Full Force Gale, Bright Side of the Road, Dweller on the Threshold, Whenever God Shines His Light…..well, he inspires me. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. catterel says:

        Thank you for the tips, Linda. I have often been surprised by the quality of lyrics sung unintelligibly – no only by Van Morrison! My daughter always sings along but she learnt the words from the record sleeves or little booklets included in CD’s.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Now we have Google. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. catterel says:

        My daughter learnt to read fast and fluently from following the lyrics on albums!


  4. heimdalco says:

    Lovely post, vivid descriptions. I could actually feel the warmth of the fire on my face & the absence of it on my back. I hope your current trip is equally as transformative. I look forward to reading about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I missed your response. And now I have been on another silent adventure and written about that one as well. 🙂 I’m going to rest for a while, continue meditating, and processing all that has happened.


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