Thursday, August 9, 2012

Firefighter 101

    Away from the mental/emotional and onto the physical. My training with the fire department is picking up a bit, and will escalate exponentially over the ensuing 8 months. This has got to be one of the more exciting pathways I have trod in many a long year. I have long held this dream in my heart, though none could have guessed. It always felt like the ultimate pipe dream, unobtainable, unthinkable, unreachable, unrealistic, unimaginable. There were a million reasons why I would never make this dream a reality; female, mom, not strong enough, no time, too old, too fat, too broken. Those are just the high points, the list is endless. But like so many things I am discovering about myself, the unthinkable is becoming my reality.
    I cannot express my delight at the sight of gleaming firetrucks, the smell of diesel fumes, the sound of sirens, the flash of lights. It is a ridiculously giddy, euphoric, childhood love. I have been around firetrucks from as early as I can remember. My father worked for a company owned by my uncle that built firetrucks, so early on I remember clambering around on freshly painted, virgin firetrucks in all manner of shape and a rainbow of colors. It was heaven. Last night, the feeling returned as I climbed onto Engine 415 to learn the weekly checklist procedure. Peering into the water tank, opening hatches, lifting out the SCBAs (self contained breathing apparatus), checking fluid levels, air pressure, inventory. It was all I could do to not dance and sing in my sheer delight. I kid you not. Seeing my own set of Turnouts hanging on a hook with my name above for all the world to see. My own mail slot. Parking in the Firefighter Parking Only space. Being greeted by Chief, Captain and Crew as "one of us." The sense of finding a home, a family, kinship. The ease of familiarity, though I've only met these guys a few times. Add to that the bond already forming between myself, the other newbs, and a couple of the probies, as we are all still "the new kids" but welcomed into the core group none the less. This is a fantasy fulfilled, with more, greater levels to be reached with each passing week.
    There is hard work ahead, long hours, giving up spare time that it seems I don't have but will find. This is a pathway that will require sacrifice, but I know the payoff will be great. This could easily become all consuming, and I will have to take care of that. I don't do anything by halves, but in this I will have to practice a modicum of restraint. But only a modicum. I want to do this as much a I have wanted anything, and more than I have wanted most things. It is another lesson in my life that if I truly want something, I can make it happen, maybe through some small sacrifice. But what is achievement without effort? Another step forward on a pathway to a new, grand adventure. I am excited. I am delighted. I am dedicated. I am living a dream.  

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