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Fire, flood, and the union of opposites

Fire, flood, and the union of opposites

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.

—Robert Frost


The Pacific Northwest is burning.

A record-breaking heat wave has left our verdant region a dried-out husk, its forests full of ready tinder. Sparks of errant lightning have set hundreds of thousands of acres ablaze, turning huge swaths of old-growth trees into a charred blight on the landscape.

A smoky pall has settled over my hometown, choking the air with acrid heat. The once-brilliant sun has lost its halo; swollen and lethargic, it hangs like a bloodshot eye in the afternoon sky.

Amidst the inferno, we receive news of flooding in Texas. A hurricane has dumped trillions of gallons of rain on the southwest, submerging many areas in several feet of water.

Two regions, each corresponding to opposing elements. One cool and wet. The other hot and dry. Each grappling with the destructive power of its elemental nemesis.

In psychological terms, fire represents the light of consciousness, while water symbolizes the darkness of the unconscious—two halves of the human psyche. In Celtic myth, they’re the two children of the goddess Arianrhod: Llew the sun god, and Dylan of the sea. Here in the physical world, the twin brothers have invaded each other’s realms.

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