Fire on the Mountain

This fire is all natural, from the earth, and has been burning for thousands of years.

The flames at Chimera are all natural, from the earth, and have been burning for thousands of years.

One evening after dinner at Bayrams Treehouse Hostel in Olympos, a small group of us set out to find fire on the mountain. The mountain is the ancient Mount Chimaera, or Yanartaş (flaming rock), and this fire has literally been burning for thousands years. The trek was about an hour and a half, through Roman and Lycian ruins, across a rocky beach, along the coast of the Mediterranean, through the small community of Çıralı, along a paved road, and eventually, up a precarious path on a mountain, in the dark. At the top of this path, we found what we had been searching for– fire! About a dozen small ‘campfires’ dotted the rocky mountain. People were gathered around these fires, enjoying the heat, playing guitar, gazing at the stars, and reveling in this mystical wonder, as so many people had done before us. It was truly magical, and hard to fathom this methane never buring off– for years and years and years. People come and go, tides rise and fall, the land is controlled by different nations, and through it all, some things remain. I’m not going to insert any music, but maybe you can play the Grateful Dead (Fire on the Mountain), The Marshall Tucker Band (Fire on the Mountain), or even Billy Joel (We Didn’t Start the Fire) while browsing the photos.

Friends enjoying the eternal flames

Friends enjoying the eternal flames

The size of the flames might change from time to time,  but the fire keeps on burning

The size of the flames might change from time to time, but the fire keeps on burning

Fire, Fire on the Mountain

(sing) Fire, Fire on the Mountain (Grateful Dead)

We didn't start the fire. It was always burning, since the world's been turning. We didn't start the fire.

(sing) We didn’t start the fire. It was always burning, since the world’s been turning. We didn’t start the fire. (Billy Joel)

(sing) Buddy Holly, "Ben Hur", space monkey, Mafia Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go (Bily Joel) (Photo by Christina Leano)

(sing) Buddy Holly, “Ben Hur”, space monkey, Mafia
Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go (Bily Joel) (Photo by Christina Leano)

(sing) And there's fire on the mountain, lightning in the air (Marshall Tucker Band)

(sing) And there’s fire on the mountain, lightning in the air (Marshall Tucker Band)

Insert your favorite lyrics here

Insert your favorite lyrics here

I’ll end with some Grateful Dead lyrics, since it’s impossible not to sing this song in your head while experiencing such a thing. Plus, this stanza can serve as an excuse of sorts for why I don’t post more regularly. There’s a lot of living to do, and making time to get what I need to done is important as well as spending time doing what I want to be doing. No need to get completely worn out at this point. I do what I can, and choose which fires seem to be most urgent for me at the moment.

Fire! Fire on the mountain!

Almost ablaze still you don’t feel the heat
It takes all you got just to stay on the beat.
You say it’s a livin, we all gotta eat
But you’re here alone, there’s no one to compete.
If mercys a busness, I wish it for you
More than just ashes when your dreams come true.

Fire! Fire on the mountain!

(Robert Hunter/Grateful Dead)

lovely flames

(sing) Is this burning, an eternal flame, Say my name, sun shines through the rain (The Bangles)

One thought on “Fire on the Mountain

  1. what a great post! must’ve been an almost surreal experience to witness the ‘spontaneous’ flames…

    my mom (Sylvia Duncan) sent me your blog post… she is friends with your folks (as am i). she thought i would enjoy your grateful dead reference. and i did. cheers!

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