Two men sat at an open fire deep in the woods late in the night. One by one, the men extended sticks into the fire, allowing the fire to sheath the sticks in yellow and red flames. Once the fire firmly gripped the sticks, the men let them go and watched the sticks flourish with new flames.
One man was older than the other. Considerably so. The older man watched as several sticks in the fire collapsed, issuing sparks that spiraled up through the flames and ascended into the starry sky.
“What do you see when you watch the fire?” the older man asked the younger.
“I see flames struggling along the length of the sticks,” the younger man said. “Men are fighting. Soldiers rising, clashing, and falling. But atop that—in the upper flames—there is a beautiful woman dancing with her child.” The younger man poked at the fire with a stick, releasing an ascending column of sparks. “What do you see?” he asked the older man.
The old man thought for only a moment. “I see a bouquet of flowers. The flowers open and close quickly. All of the flowers are eventually drawn back into the coals and the earth. Some go to seed as they fall. The seeds will become stars. You can see the seeds climbing up into the sky as you stir the fire.” The older man kicked at the fire. Sparks swirled up into the dark night.
“Interesting, that we do not see the same thing,” the younger man remarked.
The older man grinned. “Are we not actually seeing and saying the same thing?”