This is the conclusion to the story…
“Fire and Water: The Search For Life”
********** ********** **********
Until one day Fire and Water ran into each other again (literally!), each so intent upon their own distractions that neither noticed the other until almost colliding. Suddenly face-to-face after eons of separation, they could only stare at each other in silence. Anxious for company, even if it was only Water, Fire searched desperately for something to say that would stall Water’s progress a moment longer. But all he could think of to say was, “Uh, hi! How have you been?” Shaking himself mentally, Fire looked away, embarrassed by his lame attempt at meaningful conversation. And so he missed the spark that came to Water’s eyes.
Warmed by his presence, mesmerized by his light, Water rewarded Fire with a heartfelt smile. Glancing up just in time to catch that smile, Fire couldn’t help but respond with one of his own. And for a moment they remembered together the way it had always been before between them, chasing each other joyfully through the universe, bickering and complaining about each other. But they had been content then in their work, and in the Love of the Creator. Until the shadow of sorrow fell between them…
Engulfed anew by sadness, Water turned away from Fire. But Fire would not let her go. “Wait!” he called after her. “Don’t go yet.”
Slowly Water turned back, hope shimmering in her downcast eyes. Composing herself carefully, she lifted her glance, questioning Fire’s request. “Well…,” Fire began, hesitating. “I just thought maybe we could hang out together for a while.” Gaining confidence as an idea occurred to him, he continued. “Maybe, if we work together, we can figure this mystery out!”
Anxious to play with Fire, even if she thought the game futile, Water smiled her willingness to Fire. “Okay, genius, what do we do?”
Fire looked at Water blankly, completely unprepared to answer. Laughing merrily at his sudden discomposure, Water reached out to embrace Fire. But Fire jumped back quickly, avoiding the contact.
“Are you nuts, Water?! What are you trying to do, kill me?” Responding to Water’s deep and disheartened confusion, Fire added more gently. “Water puts out fire, remember?”
Nodding sadly, Water concurred. “And fire destroys water… I remember.” Turning her attention inward, Water spoke softly to herself. “Yet I love him… How could the Creator be so cruel? Leaving me alone in this vast and lifeless universe with the only one I could ever love, yet ensuring we can never be as one. For to join with him in love is to destroy us both…”
Fire interrupted Water’s reverie. “Wait a minute, what did you say?”
Embarrassed to find out she had been speaking aloud, Water tried to divert Fire. “Uh, nothing really… I was just wondering about the Creator, and why we were left alone.” She glanced up at Fire, hoping he had not heard her mumbling clearly…
“You said you love me!” Fire asserted with growing confidence. “I heard you.”
“So what?,” responded Water sharply, annoyed by Fire’s certainty. “It’s not like it really matters, does it? As you’ve already pointed out, fire and water eliminate each other!”
“But…” Fire stopped, thinking. “The Creator spoke to us of Love before leaving. Maybe there’s something in this we can use.” Fully absorbed in discovering how this new information might help him solve the Great Mystery, Fire was oblivious to Water’s plight. For all his keen observational skills, he did not notice how sad Water was, or how deeply his callous indifference to her confession had hurt her. Glancing up distractedly, Fire realized that Water was leaving… “Hey! Where are you going, Water?”
Without turning back, Water answered. “There’s nothing here for me, Fire. I’m leaving.”
Suddenly afraid of being alone again, Fire knew what he had missed. “Wait, Water… I’m sorry.”
When Water stopped, Fire continued more gently. “I shouldn’t have treated you that way,” he admitted. “I guess I got so excited by what you said, I didn’t stop to think about you… I’m glad you love me. I want you to stay.”
Warily, Water faced him. “But nothing can come of my love for you, Fire. You know that; you pointed it out.”
Thoughtfully, Fire responded. “Yet the Creator spoke to us of Love. We were left here together to find Life… Maybe if we joined forces?” Hopefully Fire looked to Water.
“But we would destroy each other,” Water reminded him, confused.
“I know,” Fire agreed. Then smiling at Water, he added. “But at least we wouldn’t be alone anymore in a vast, lifeless universe… And we would be together. Is that so bad a destiny?” Lowering his voice, he spoke once more. “I love you, too, Water. I know that now.”
Unable to contain her joy, Water rushed to Fire and embraced him, all thoughts of consequences lost in her love for him… The Creator of All-That-Is smiled at long last, marking this moment in a timeless eternity, and a miracle occurred. For out of the union of Fire and Water arose Life, not death; in the wake of that union, there were four in the universe, rather than two…
Where Water embraced Fire, Fire cooled, leaving in his place a solid element – Earth; so daughter was borne of the father’s essence. Where Fire warmed Water, steam arose, creating yet another element – Air; and son was borne of the mother’s flesh. From the love of Fire and Water came the twin elements Earth and Air. And a family existed where only emptiness had been…
And there was Life and Love and Joy in the Creator’s universe…
********** ********** **********
Time passed happily in the element’s world. Fire continued to wander, spreading his Light and Warmth, his Hope and Purpose. But he never strayed far from Water, knowing that it was their Love for each other that gave meaning to his work. Water settled down, within sight of Fire, content to watch their children grow strong and independent as they discovered their own unique talents and gifts. Until the children were mature and seeking work of their own. And Fire and Water looked upon each other again, wondering how their children would fulfill their being…
The Creator smiled again upon the elements, knowing that a great change had occurred. For Water had grown warm under the constant attention of Fire, and heavy with Life. And from her great womb came life in myriad forms, Life requiring Earth and Air for survival. And so it was that Life crawled out of the oceans and rivers and seas to take root in the fertile soil of Earth, drawing sustenance and being from Fire and Water, the breath of Life from Air. And the Love of the Creator of All-That-is found fulfillment in Life that sought fulfillment through the love of creating All-That-Is…
********** ********** **********
Within each of us dwells the four elements, for we are created of them and sustained through them. Fire is our Spirit, the divine spark that is each of us. Water is our Heart, our connection to spirit. Air is our Consciousness, our Minds, our Knowing; the drive and high-reaching ambition that is Fire, the tempered compassion and understanding of Water. Earth is our Physical Being, our Sustenance, our Support; the nurturing and peace of Water, the creative power and presence of Fire. To become whole is to find within ourselves this place of perfect, yet ever-changing balance of the elements…
~ © Lisa R. Palmer, 1995