The Burning Season


It’s that time of year when the forests are burning. The air is thick with smoke and I can’t see the town in the valley from my hilltop home.

The temperature has been soaring to over 100 degrees and my son and I stay indoors with the windows closed, the curtains drawn, the fan blowing. And still the smoke seeps through the cracks. My nose and throat feel coated with the gritty stuff, and my head aches.

It seems nature is mirroring this strange world I’ve inhabited for the past several months, the heat forcing me to be still.

I feel the trees blazing, the air crackling, the familiar world consumed by flames. And I wonder what’s burning away? When the devastation is complete, when the smoldering coals finally die down, when all that is left are charred stumps–what then? What new life will finally emerge?


6 thoughts on “The Burning Season

  1. This sounds like a difficult passage… I am always saddened by forest fires, and we have them here too. Here, they are often arson, and that seems to make it even worse. The thoughts of the living creatures deprived of their space, fleeing to find refuge… it is hard to bear. I hope it’ll be over soon.

    • They are sad. Here they are more often from natural causes. There are a couple fires in the area right now, all caused, I believe, from lightning. There is a natural aspect to them, too. In the distant past fires were left unchecked and considered necessary for the forest to rejuvenate. These days, however, with so many humans, they are much more dangerous. Fires have come quite close to my home in the past. One burned part of my property, but, fortunately, not the house. It’s always a scary time of year.

  2. After the Moonlight Fire in 2007, we went up into the most severe section of the burn, and I realized something I hadn’t thought of before. Fire destroys, but it also reveals. With all the vegetation removed, the shape of the land, its bones, the rocks, are revealed. It is heart-breaking, but a burn is also a new beginning. The year after the Moonlight Fire, wild lilies bloomed where I had never seen them before. It’s worth remembering that, when we go through these times.

    • That’s true. There is a natural process to fires and they do lead to new beginnings. Of course, ones started by cigarettes or campfires that weren’t put out are another story!

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