A small spark vs a great forest. A dark, dense forest. A forest providing beauty, and shade from the sun.
But perhaps too much shade.
The forest as a dark, scary, haunting place is a metaphor carried through the centuries inside the human psyche, found in our collective storytelling.
The forest is a tool shading us from the sun. Dimming the power of light. As beautiful as the forest is, crossing from forest edge into a clearing can surprise our eyes as we adjust to the intense light of the approaching meadow, as if someone flipped a switch on.
As much as we are able to see while walking inside the forest, it is the tree canopy screening the full amount of light possible to us. The forest is ‘dark’ to us during peak daytime.
Forests are screening out the most light available to us. The light is there. But we are lost inside the forest which is always providing a diminished version of the light.
Perhaps, the forest needs to be removed if we can’t find our way out.
There is also the metaphor of a seemingly insignificant small spark, be it fire or a passing thought, having an enormous, disproportional affect on it’s surroundings.
One small careless incident, and the whole forest burns down.
One small careless word, and a kingdom crumbles.
One small thoughtful daily act, and darkness itself begins to fade.
When I consider the warning how a small spark can burn a forest down, I find it as a warning of thoughtful discernment. The message isn’t “don’t be careless and screw everything up.” What if the message is “a small spark can take on a great forest.”
We should decide with care which forests to burn down. There are forests preventing us from full access to the Light.
There are forests of oppression, shielding the Light of all we can be if not for unjust systems.
There are forests of depression, shielding the Light that is telling us we are tremendously valued as we are.
There are forests of bitterness, shielding the Light trying to tell us to let go, move on, and walk forward humbly motivated.
There are forests of lies, shielding the Light of Truth by using Light itself in a very diminished, altered state.
A small spark, the smallest amount of hope you could possibly imagine, is enough. It’s always just enough. It will light a new light as it burns the forest down. What is left is more Light. The Light which was diminished. A Light we only saw a burst here and there of through the forest’s thick tree canopy.
We had no idea how bright it was outside the forest.
But liberated from the dark forest we lived in, are we not tasked to carefully burn down forests of lies, oppression, worthlessness, shame, anger, or bitterness we see others are wandering in? Setting a small spark in our forest takes resolve, but it only has to be a small spark.
Burn down the forest of shame, bitterness, hopelessness, all which shields Light.