Interior Fire

What’s to say that hasn’t been mentioned yet? In sum, heat and cold…we experience them both, each one preferable to the other at some point. I am learning about heat in chemistry (not biology this time sorry to disappoint), but the most I could do is define it and apply it to some calculations…so I will hold off.

What I would like to focus on is the satisfaction heat and cold supply us. When the heat finally turns on in the car, when hot water soothes cold hands, when you pile on blankets, there is something about the sensation of heat that is so compelling.  It makes me want to stop time just so I could enjoy that moment a little longer, feel the heat seep into my body just a little more, never move from my position. Equally as potent is cold. The solace of shade on a hot walk, a breeze, and who could forget the lucrative spray bottle misting fans at theme parks?

When our surroundings produce heat or cold, it seems like our bodies always crave the other.

As Macauley mentions, Greek and Roman physicians thought that body heat came from “an interior fire located in the left ventricle of the heart.” Medical nomenclature aside, the idea of a literal fire inside of us is thrillingly metaphorical. We equate passion with fire, determination and perseverance, too. The adjective ‘fiery’ is used to describe others with a relentless sense of drive, and aptly so, as we are all, without realizing, referencing this ancient idea.

Additionally, heat and cold can be felt on the emotional plane as well. We associate a good relationship with feeling warmth and kindness, perhaps even blushing, as the blood rushes to our face, but getting the ‘cold shoulder’ is not quite as desirable. This fluctuation of both temperature and mood is enhanced by T.S. Eliot, as he proclaimed, “[b]etween melting and freezing/ The soul’s sap quivers.” Does any particular image come to mind when reading that quote? I am asking myself if I ever will decide on what the soul looks like, but if I do figure it out, I will be sure to add sap. One of the few interpretations I have decided on for this quote is that something as external as temperature, and even as internal as feelings, always have a way of affecting us more deeply than we may detect.

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One Response to Interior Fire

  1. wcturgeon says:

    The soul sap quivers: I think of a small animal, quivering with life, perhaps scared of death but very much desiring life.

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