Inspired by the Baining Fire Dance, i n Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, which I attended in 2018, at night, sitting among other guests & hundreds of natives. The dance celebrates the harvest, or commemorates a child’s birth & on the night I saw it the introduction of young men into adulthood. The dancers dress in costumes with elaborate, enormous masks representing forest spirits & penis shields & dance around & through the flames sending sparks into the night sky accompanied by a half dozen men beating sticks on large pieces of bamboo. One dancer, as he jumped around the shooting flames & through the smoky air, held a long snake by the neck while a young boy followed holding its tail. To me the dance, like many human rituals, represents an attempt by man to exert his control over nature—-the inexplicable mysteries of life.