Photograph by Matthew Huang

After many attempts to see a WaterFire Lighting I finally made it, well sorta. I’ll never forget the very first time actually making it down there, bringing my brother and sister with me and there not being a WaterFire…oops. I thought they were every weekend. On that night, not a soul was to be found, what a romantic area and powerful calm in the air. That feeling never left me. After losing my Dad, my Mom and I did everything together. One night we attended the event. What a surprise it was. We attended a couple more after that. Fire is like watching a silent movie, capturing us so individually.

The fire tenders worked their magic like a well oiled machine. I was so impressed by the way they all stood with their pieces of wood, waiting to feed the next brazier. I thought, how beautiful is this? Somewhere along the way I found out this event is mostly all volunteers. I couldn’t believe my ears, that something of this level was mostly volunteer based. I knew I wanted to be part of this performance. After losing my Mom after spending every summer together I had a big hole to fill in my life. The first place I turned to was WaterFire. I signed up to be a fire tender. That first night seeing all those people looking at us with anticipation of what was to come, as I once did, was personally very emotional. The best part of being a fire tender is the ride up river before the fires are lit. That sense of purpose, importance and gratefulness to be welcomed into an amazing community. I would like to thank all of you for that.

– Judy Silun