The second part of my mid-life journey into an unanticipated career change (see previous post about flying) pushed me right into the fire. I have no more idea how I got here than I do how I got to the flying part.

Three weeks ago–September 11–I found myself standing in a room full of people who have dedicated their lives to the fire service in a moment of silence for those first responders who gave their all that fateful dat in 2001. I found myself fighting back the tears, as I can think of no better remembrance of that day.

Day to day I find myself working on some sort of fire training or another–from hazardous materials, driving and maintaining the apparatus, to fire safety inspections, fire behavior flashover, and firefighter mental health. I love working with the firefighters–they are passionate about what they do and what they do is help people. But like a moth, I am also drawn to the flame.

My favorite days are when we got to light an entire room of furniture set up in an empty shipping container on fire. I got to see first hand how a room goes from a little smoldering to flashover, how the particles in smoke provide more fuel for fire, and how even items outside the room will off gas and combust.

Or that winter day we drove all the way down to Cedar City to watch a rather large and once-nice house burn down, literally to the ground.

I love working with firefighters who are always excitedly teaching–long after the project is completed.

And I appreciate knowing that my primary reason for existence is to make sure someone empties the lint filter in the dryer to protect us from a laundry room fire.

[Day 170 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]