Friends have invited us to their annual Ring of Fire picnic the Saturday before Labor Day at their cottage on the shore of Canandaigua Lake, in the spectacular Finger Lakes region of New York State.
The Ring of Fire commemorates the ancient Seneca Indian ceremony of thanks for peace and good crop yield and, appropriately, closes out the summer season. It is held the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend when, at 9 p.m., a bonfire is lit at the top of Bare Hill, near the south end of the lake. Bare Hill sits next to South Hill, the sacred location from which the Senecas believe their ancestors rose from the earth. Lake shore residents then light red road flares along the shoreline, making for a spectacular sight.
The cacophony of modern life often deafens us to Nature’s call. In the whirlwind of family and career obligations that consume our lives, we sorely need to take a step back from time to time for sanity’s sake. Nature’s gentle healing powers remind us of what it means to be fully human. This annual event connects us to an ancient tradition that honors Nature’s circle of life.