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Building a Fire

I learned to tell stories around a camp-fire, on the edges of the desert in the western plains. At day’s-end, you sit at the fire, to eat and listen. When you are very young, you listen quietly, chewing the words you hear in your mouth, watching the embers flying into the sky. Seeing the old men and women pointing at the sky, talking about the names of the stars or their patterns or those who have left to walk among them . As you get a little older, your voice becomes a little louder, and your laughter is as loud as the birds that call the twilight, and your sighs join those of the wind that drives the bitter sand into good water. Your eyes catch those around you, and in the dark you see them likewise smiling and sad. After you return that first time from the far wells, one of the story tellers turns to you, while recounting the journey and seeks correction on a point of detail. Many eyes turn to you, and you nod holding your breath secretly inside. In your own time you ch

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