Sunday, March 22, 2020


On the last Friday of February I was planning to head into town for the regular Final Friday art walk, looking forward to seeing interesting art, hearing some music, and maybe running into friends. But about the time I was thinking of getting ready to go I received a call from the Fire Chief.

He wasn't warning me about a fire, but proposing to set one. He'd just mowed the fire break around our field.

"Well let me know when you are going to burn," I said.

"Tonight," was the reply. "In about an hour."

"OH! OK." My plans changed quickly.

A small red cedar tree catches fire.
So an hour later I changed into something more appropriate for viewing a fire, grabbed the camera and walked down the hill. We had been wanting to burn this field for the last two years -- last year the weather did not cooperate, the year before I waited too late to contact the fire department. Since we'd waited so long, I was not at all disappointed in the change in plans, I was ecstatic.

The firefighters went around the perimeter of the field, spraying water on the mowed fire break and setting the dried grass aflame. It was glorious.

Fire is such an exciting entity. It feels alive; it "eats," moves, multiplies, then dies. I love fire. I think pretty much everyone loves fire. It is my belief that firefighters love fire, too. They respect it and strive to understand it. We all are drawn to fire, for comfort, for warmth, for companionship. Build a campfire and you will have visitors.

The fire lasted until after dark. At one point fire burned fiercely on both sides of the driveway where I stood. It was exhilarating, but really, really smoky. So I moved to clear air as quickly as possible.

Burning a field helps suppress woody plants and encourages grass. With the field blackened, the soil warmed quickly on sunny days and the field is now covered in a green fire that will continue for many months.

Fire destroys, and transforms, renews and regenerates.


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