Phoenix

It had started as a testament to the men who were consumed by the Great War of 1914-18.
It seemed such a simple idea to make a figure out of barbed wire but its creation left me scarred in more ways than one.
Since I could remember the stories of the Western Front soldiers had held an almost unhealthy fascination and I wanted to make my peace with their suffering.
And so it was that I found myself on a beach at sunset with a figure that had torn my skin and unsettled my mind for too long. 
I was worried.
After all this work, after all the hopes that it would be suitable, fitting, relevant - would it work?
I was concerned that when he burned the wires that joined him would break, that he'd spring into an amorphous tangle of meaningless wire.
What if he collapsed under his own weight?
What if we couldn't get him to a beach - there are so many restrictions on what is 'allowed', so many voices ready to rise up in fear and disapproval.
With the concrete applied to his feet it was going to be a major event just getting him there.
As we drove to the coast, something with a touch of magic in it came along for the ride, and the day became a gift.

A perfect beach, a perfect sky, a perfect place to witness a baptism of fire.

After weeks of biblical rainstorms the clouds break up and drop a perfect orange sun onto the horizon, right in front of us.
As the sea breathes in and out the boulders sound like bones rattling.
There's just enough breeze to make the flames dance, and as we stand watching the figure of the Wireman emerge from the fire, a full moon rises up behind him and throws his shadow across the shoreline.
Something greater than the making of a wire figure has happened, and the occasion makes its presence felt.

I am with my son, on a beach watching something unimagined and elemental take place, and I am grateful for everything that has lead to this moment.

The photographs are courtesy of Chris and are an event in their own right.