Yes, yes, for all these reasons. But there are more.
Let's start with a taste of the fire itself. People have stood in awe of that power for thousands of years. Click here for an example (a pale example - since you aren't in its real presence) but a taste:
Let’s start with the five easiest reasons:
|Marty Maneck on the bagpipes leads the procession through the woods. |
This celebration is partly tradition and partly very new.
The oak woods and prairies of the American Midwest are fire-dependent natural communities. Thousands of species are declining and going locally extinct because, in the absence of controlled burns, invasive trees and shrubs shade out the understory. Ecosystem extinction is like what would happen if after 182 days of darkening, the sun just kept shutting down. Ecosystem recovery after brush clearing is like spring. At the bonfire, we celebrate "the return of the sun" in two senses.
Photo credits: Carol Freeman, Lisa Culp, and Tina Onderdonk
A different blog on this event, written mostly for stewards, is at: http://woodsandprairie.blogspot.com/2015/12/solstice-bonfire.html