Replenishing That Inner Fire


There’s a poster with a wonderful quote by Albert Schweitzer. “In everyone’s life,” it says, “at some point our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being, We should be grateful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”

There really are people who are filled with so much warmth and vitality that it flows out to enfold any they meet. How fortunate I was to know one such bright and beautiful lady long ago in Sharon, Massachusetts. To be near Tina was to be filled with her enthusiasm, to laugh with her over her comical misadventures, and to leave her company enthralled, exalted, and full of new thoughts. She had traveled the world, and her home was filled with all she had collected—not expensive antiques or art treasures, but things that meant much more. A clumsy little tripod made of sticks sold to her by a ragged urchin in South America now held aloft a lovely bowl fashioned by an old lady in Mexico. A small brass bell  had  hung in China and was given to her by a schoolboy on her visit there—long before those borders were opened to the West. So many stories…

And as she told them

I felt as if I had met

All the world as friends.

We have all met someone like Tina. Perhaps there is a truly special editor, a colleague with whom to brainstorm and share, and friends whose presence is exciting and exhilarating or simply as warm and as comforting as sunshine. But there are other ways to rekindle that inner spark. A visit to a school is one such way—I always come away renewed by the kinetic energy of young people and with ears full of new dialogue and such possibilities!

There are museums where paintings offer color, movement, and beauty, but more inspiring for me is the work of people I know.  I have a photographer friend who rises before dawn to catch the right light, who patiently waits for the absolutely perfect moment, and then! When I stand in front of Martha’s photographs, I feel the cool the iridescence of a dewdrop or feel the flutter-beat of a wildfowl’s wings. And I understand what Blake meant when he spoke of heaven in a wildflower and eternity in a grain of sand.

And if all else fails, there is always the sure-fire remedy of the natural world. Quenched, banked or dulled into cold ashes, the flame within has no chance against a spectacular sunset that paints the sky in crimson and gold. A walk along the beach has its own magic, for with the sound of waves and sea-birds and the gift of shells scattered on the sand, there comes a peaceful rhythm like another heartbeat, a rhythm that allows thoughts and dreams to mingle into something new. These are so many treasures around us free for the taking. Only this morning as I clambered up Everest (who seems a bit tamer these days), I saw how a pine tree spread its dark fingers wide, and how from each slender needle bright raindrops sparkled. And then—and then I saw that the branch tips of a tree in my own garden were showing red—a sign that in some weeks Spring would come. Certainly, there would be winter yet and cold and frost and maybe even snow, but spring would surely come with all her riches!

New shoots on branches

Long bare and winter barren…

My spirit dances!




About Maureen C. Wartski

I’m Maureen Wartski, writer, artist, wife, mother, grandmother; you can see that I have many of the bases covered. I was born in Ashiya, Japan, a (then) small town which lay cradled between sea and mountains. In the evenings, we would walk along the road that ran past Osaka Bay, and a great moon would rise out of the water to turn the world to silver. I’m told that my first words were, “Big moon!” All my life I have felt the tug to write something, draw something, put together something with fabric, string and color, and the urge to create has grown through the years. I suppose, then, that it’s a natural thing that this blog be full of the things that so many of you enjoy doing…drawing, making something with fabric, and writing. Yuri's Brush with Magic, my newest book for middle schoolers follows the adventures of a brother and sister, the magic of words, and the incredible magic of the natural world. I'd love to hear from you! You can send me a note at: My blog is here: Or friend me on Facebook!

4 responses »

  1. Maureen,
    Your story about the friend who had collected items from all over and had stories to match them reminded me of a teacher’s classroom I visited recently. Class group photos were on display for every year she had taught. That was her special collection. She pointed out a few students and told me of their place in life now. It was as touching as a Hallmark card commercial.

    Maureen, this post is so beautiful. Thank you for reminding us to reach out to life’s beauty and let it rekindle our flame. Thank you for being you!

  2. Maureen, you really identify the special value of memorable experiences; some involving tangible objects and others that emanate from writings, spoken accounts, photos, artistry and so forth.
    While we have our own items to treasure, being able to value the little treasures of other dear people gives such richness to the relationships we need to give meaning to all of our lives.

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