Five and a Half Years

This is one of those thousand-word pictures. Today I walked up the Davis Peak Trail (it goes relentlessly up), and entered the burn at about three miles. Lightning ignited the Polallie Fire on September 4, 2006, and I was watching a couple days later when it charged up Davis Peak. It was an adventure for nearly two weeks, but September fires end in cold rainstorms.

When you experience a fire in the woods on a steep mountainside, it can seem like the world is ending. The landscape is left charred, blackened, smoking. But it’s only changed, not dead. Fire hollows out a tree root. The tree falls. Seeds blow in from nearby, and there is germination and flowering. The marks of fire linger for a long time, but life softens them almost as soon as the flames are extinguished. Insects and birds return before the smoke clears, and come back every spring afterward.

To say that this is a miracle is an understatement, so I hope you will find your own meaning in this image.

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